Microsoft Introduces Connectors for CRM App

At its first CRM customer summit, held this week in San Diego, Microsoft announced the availability of tools to integrate its Dynamics CRM application with competing ERP (enterprise resource planning) back-end systems.

Called “Solution Accelerators,” the integration packages connect via BizTalk Server. They are available forOracle’s Siebel CRM, Oracle’s PeopleSoft and other Oracle applications, as well as forSAP and other vendors’ systems.

Growing Interest

The company first announced plans to offer these in July, noted Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Since then, he told CRM Buyer, there has been a great deal of interest on the part of its growing CRM customer base.

The interest in closer integration with enterprise systems is part of an overall push bycompanies to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a way to extend existing investments in technology, he said. “The increasing number of such projects as integrating order processing or inventory management into our CRM app are an indication of how fast we are growing.”

Microsoft CRM grew by 100 percent this fiscal year, according to Wilson, both in terms of revenues and customers. “We think it will continue to grow at 100 percent a year for the next couple of years at least,” he predicted, noting that it now has 250,000 users worldwide in 8,000 companies.

Later this year, Microsoft Dynamics will be explaining how the CRM app will integrate into Vista, Wilson said. Other growth initiatives include continuing to build out and leverage its partner relationships.

Growth By Example

The launch of the invitation-only customer summit is another indication of Microsoft CRM’s growth, Wilson added. Microsoft now plans to schedule a summit twice a year — in the United States and in Europe. The next one is planned fdor April somewhere in southern Europe.

Attendees at the first gathering included representatives from Benjamin Moore & Co., FranklinCovey, Getty Images, O.C. Tanner Co., RaymondJames Financial, Volt Information Sciences and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa.

Much of the summit discussion focused on how these and other customers had leveraged Microsoft Dynamics, Wilson said.

Benjamin Moore & Co., for instance, uses Microsoft CRM to manage its geographically dispersed sales force and high-volume call center.

FranklinCovey’s sales team can access Microsoft CRM via a native Microsoft Outlook interface.

Getty Images selected Microsoft CRM because it was able to handle significant customization and integrate into its back-end enterprise systems.

“There were 40 enterprise companies at the conference, represented by a number of people from each of thosecompanies,” Wilson said. “It was meant to be an interactive conference.”

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