Microsoft Business Solutions CRM is now approaching the phase of being mature product and the CRM solution you may consider for large publicly traded company. Our view point considers the fact of multiple platforms and systems coexistence and balancing: UNIX, Linux, Microsoft Windows, Java, .Net, PC, AS/400, RS6000, Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes Domino, etc. This increases the cost of maintenance, but decreases the risk of being trapped to one vendor/solution. So far we've seen successful implementations of Microsoft CRM in the following industries: Distribution, Logistics, Non-Profit, Chemicals, Pharmaceutical, Placement/Recruiting, Medicare/Hospitals, Retail, Wholesale, Education, Beverages, Services, Defense, Aerospace, Oil & Gas.
? In-house Implementation. This is non-expected paradox. Multiple clients, especially large companies, do it themselves. The reason is ? Microsoft CRM utilizes all spectrum Microsoft Technologies: Exchange, Active Directory, .Net, Full-text search, etc. Microsoft oriented IT people understand it and like to be involved. So, you should consider self-implementation first.
? Integration. Microsoft CRM has relatively simple business logic and sits in Microsoft SQL Server, which enables customization and integration with third party systems and databases. If you have Microsoft Great Plains ? you can use MBS CRM-GP integration tool, based on BizTalk. If you have UNIX-based ERP/Accounting, you can deploy MS SQL linked server to bridge MS CRM and ERP. The same would work for Oracle ERP ? Oracle Financials. Navision has third party integration tool and the one from Microsoft is on the way to be released. Axapta is also candidate for the integration.
? Customization. Microsoft CRM SDK describes majority of MS CRM objects and classes and enable VB.Net or C#.Net developer to build-in custom .Net application for Microsoft CRM existing screens. And this is actually the way of the integration ? you realize integration in the custom .Net application.
? Messaging. Microsoft CRM uses MS CRM-Exchange connector in its standard functionality. However if you have IBM Lotus Domino email server ? you can deploy MS CRM-Lotus connector, developed and supported by Alba Spectrum Technologies.
? Data Conversion. You should use Scribe for initial data migration. However you need some programming work if you plan on bringing advanced data (email attachments from Siebel, for example)
? External consultants. You should consider customization and integration initial design as candidates for outsourcing. Then, when coding is done and implemented ? you may switch to your internal developers to support custom pieces.
? Nation-wide support. Microsoft CRM is very innovative from the support side. It means that Microsoft CRM partners tend to go to the nation-wide and international market to sell, implement and support the application. Being web application ? Microsoft CRM could be accessed, customized and modified from anywhere.
? Internationalization. Microsoft Business Solutions promotes MS CRM worldwide and has local versions of the product
You can always have us help you, give us a call: 1-630-961-5918 or 1-866-528-0577, [email protected]
Andrew Karasev is consultant and CTO in Alba Spectrum Technologies ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ) ? Microsoft Business Solutions partner, serving clients in Illinois, New York, California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Minnesota, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Russia. He is Microsoft Great Plains certified master, Great Plains Dexterity, Microsoft CRM SDK C#.Net, Crystal Repots developer. You can reach Andrew: [email protected]