Microsoft gunning for CRM crown

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Microsoft gunning for CRM crown

Forthcoming Dynamics Live aims to compete with SAP, Salesforce and Oracle.

Microsoft has made a move against some of the biggest names in the customer relationship management (CRM) market by adding web-based services to its Dynamics CRM offering. 

Steve Ballmer, chief executive at Microsoft, gave a demonstration of Dynamics Live in a keynote address at the 2007 Microsoft Convergence conference.

The software will be a key component in helping the next version of Dynamics Live to go head-to-head with CRM giants SAP Oracle and 

Dynamics Live will be a hybrid that mixes the traditional PC-based software client with a web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

SAP and Oracle offer similar hybrid products, while uses SaaS exclusively.

By adding SaaS components to Dynamics Live, Microsoft hopes to combine the customisation of web-based services like with its current CRM software as well as its other proprietary business apps such as Excel and Outlook.

The company envisions users being able to produce 'mash-up' features that use web services and Microsoft desktop applications.

SaaS CRM systems have become increasingly popular in recent years as web connections have improved and more businesses have taken to e-commerce.

CRM systems traditionally came on several discs and could cost thousands of dollars, putting the software well out of the reach of smaller firms with only a few employees.

By selling the CRM system as hosted service, vendors are able to offer CRM software as a browser-based subscription service that charges per-user.

SaaS is also gaining in popularity with larger enterprises, owing to the flexibility of the systems.

The SaaS services can be managed and edited from a single remote location, or by a team of collaborating developers. Updates can be implemented without requiring a physical update or new installation on every user machine.

The next release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, codenamed 'Titan', is slated for release by the fourth quarter of 2007.
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