CNet: Microsoft takes wraps off CRM software

My spin: So Microsoft has finally released Microsoft CRM – will it turn into a failed product with minimal market share or will it blossom and grow. If Microsoft is competing against BEST Software’s ACT or SalesLogix; or Front Range Software’s GoldMine, Saleforce.com or Netledger/Oracle Small Business – Microsoft has an uphill climb based on feedback from its own resellers.
Here’s a Cnet snip:
Several reseller partners said that while the product is competitively priced, it lacks the depth of features that some competitors offer. For instance, they said Microsoft CRM is harder to customize than the competing applications that cost roughly the same. Microsoft is relying instead on the new product’s ties to its upcoming line of.Net software as a main selling point, said one reseller.
HOWEVER, Microsoft’s own press release reads:
“We anticipate that Microsoft CRM will significantly change the way businesses work with their customers. The solution meets the needs and fits within the budget and IT resources of midmarket businesses,” said Terry Petrzelka, president and CEO of TECTURA Corp., a Microsoft Business Solutions CRM certified partner. “This CRM product can be easily tailored to meet a variety of specific vertical and industry requirements and has built-in support for advanced customizations, integration of additional code and unique user interfaces.”
So which reseller is telling the truth?
And yet another snip:
Another Microsoft reseller pointed out that while Microsoft CRM appears affordable at first glance, the product has hidden costs.

Microsoft released the first version of its customer relationship management software on Tuesday.
The world’s largest software company is slightly behind schedule with the release of the product, its first foray into a multibillion-dollar software market ruled by Siebel Systems and SAP. Up until late last month, Microsoft had promised to deliver its CRM applications, one of the first new products out of its newly formed Business Solutions unit, by the end of last year. The company announced its intention to develop a new CRM product last February.
The company bills Microsoft CRM as a scaled-down version of the sprawling CRM packages offered by SAP, Onyx, Epiphany and Siebel. Microsoft’s applications are designed for companies with fewer than 500 employees, bringing them into head-on competition with products from companies like FrontRange Solutions, Best Software and Salesforce.com.
Microsoft CRM is intended to help small companies keep track of sales leads, accounts and orders–thereby improving sales force productivity and customer satisfaction. Microsoft CRM should also help service reps track and resolve customer service cases, according to Microsoft. (full story)

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook