Following the release of its customer relationship management (CRM) application, Microsoft has appointed IS Partners, a Microsoft Solutions Provider, as its first local certified CRM partner.
Microsoft CRM addresses a vast cross-section of the market, specifically bringing an affordable CRM solution to the mid-market. This market sector has been traditionally hard to reach and service, placing an added emphasis on the channel for sales and service opportunities.
"The challenges of the mid-market relate to providing an enterprise-level capability at a much-reduced price, and in a relatively tight timeframe. As for any market, CRM is not easy and has not delivered the promised goods in the past, even at extravagant costs. While Microsoft CRM turns this reality on its head from a product and solution perspective, it is for this reason that an implementation partner will be called for in almost all cases," says Caron Mooney, director of IS Partners.
Partners are also key to enabling the effective delivery of the Microsoft CRM design "pillars," which include improved business productivity, lower TCO, powerful integration with other systems such as Office, and extending the application capabilities as requirements emerge.
"The imminent launch of Microsoft CRM in February this year has had an unbelievable response from the market internationally, as well as locally, where we already have a number of engagements," says Stephen Green, business group leader of Microsoft Business Solutions.
"IS Partners can only be commended as the first Microsoft partner certified on Microsoft CRM because of its insight into CRM and its value add around CRM Analytics," he adds. "IS Partners has completed Microsoft CRM certification, as part of a broader program that will enable us to consult, sell and implement the CRM application through a solutions-driven approach."
CRM partners are also required to conform to the Microsoft recommended credentials, which include previous experience with CRM and consulting on CRM processes and practices; references of customers who are currently using Microsoft technologies; a commitment to a solution selling approach and a working knowledge of Active Directory, Exchange 2000 and Internet Information Server.
Additional requirements include Microsoft certification on staff for Microsoft Server, Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange.