Thanks Bink for this juicy goodness
Microsoft apparently has been listening to companies whose sales and customer-support people spend much of their time working in Outlook.
The result is the forthcoming Microsoft Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, planned for US release late this year and international release during first quarter 2003. The product will include Sales and Service modules, which users can purchase separately or as a suite and can access through Outlook or a Web browser. In a demonstration earlier this month, David Thacher, general manager of CRM at Microsoft Business Solutions, showed how Outlook users will be able to use Microsoft CRM data offline, a real benefit for sales people who need to check those figures before making presentations to potential clients.
Microsoft contends that companies using the familiar Outlook interface will see productivity gains faster because users won't need training on a new program. (Enhanced business productivity is one of three design goals for CRM, with the others being low total cost of ownership--TCO--and integration with existing business systems.)
Microsoft designed CRM for midmarket companies, which Thacher described as organizations that have dedicated sales, service, and marketing teams but lack a large IT department to implement a CRM solution. Thacher said these companies might have between 50 and 500 employees, of whom as few as 15 or as many as 150 might use the CRM product.
News source: Bink