Several New Zealand companies are among the thousands worldwide that beta-tested Microsoft’s new Dynamics CRM Online, which was officially launched today.
Action Traffic Control, based in Auckland, and Havelock North-based Gemco Group were both part of the local beta programme.
In a statement from Microsoft announcing the general availability of Dynamics CRM Online, Karl Johnson, general manager of Gemco Trades, a division of the construction company, says: “Because it is cloud-based, we can more easily support sales staff who don’t always work from the office.
“The most important benefit is the ability to capture and automate the sales process, giving us great efficiencies, with only one place to track our business processes, where previously we had three or four.”
Action Traffic Control director Andrew Seavill says: “Given the progressive shift to the cloud, we have elected to use the online version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM now that it is launched.”
More than 11,000 customers and 2000 partners took part in the beta programme.
Microsoft has taken a swipe at hosted CRM pioneer Salesforce.com and rival Oracle, offering organisations that migrate from those two vendors to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online up to $309 worth of Microsoft services per switched user.
Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research, told the IDG news wire that, "The value in CRM 2011 is really about the fact this product was designed with the salesperson in mind, not the manager."
The features, such as deep integration with Outlook and mobile capabilities are crucial to salespeople's day-to-day jobs, Wang says.
CRM 2011 does not match up feature-for-feature with Salesforce.com, he says, but "it is comparable from a salesperson's point of view, in terms of what they want to do."
Microsoft’s announcement wasn’t the only one today about cloud- based CRM software; StayinFront also announced StayinFront Edge CG, a version of its hosted CRM offering specially tailored to the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) sector.
In its statement announcing the launch of StayinFront Edge CG, the company claims the package “provides the clarity field forces need to more effectively manage their territories and for sales managers to measure, respond and lead their teams for improved productivity and overall results.”