Microsoft CRM Exploits Family Ties

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2003-02-17 Print this article Print

Integration is key to CRM success, which is why customer relationship management hasn't been widely successful.

Integration is key to CRM success, which is why customer relationship management hasnt been widely successful. Microsoft Corp. overcomes some of those integration hurdles with its Microsoft CRM, which eWeek Labs has been testing for the past couple of weeks. (Our comprehensive review of Microsoft CRM will appear in next weeks issue.)

Microsoft CRM leverages Exchange 2000 as its mail server and Active Directory as its directory server, making it extremely easy to manage users and rights. The disadvantage (or advantage, if youre Microsoft) is that users will be required to use the entire Microsoft stack for Microsoft CRM to work.

There are six flavors of Microsoft CRM, all based on the same core CRM server. Two focus on the sales professional; two cater to customer service professionals; and two contain the full bundle, Microsoft CRM Suite Standard and Microsoft CRM Suite Professional.

In tests, once the Microsoft CRM server was installed, we could immediately access and begin using the system via the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. The user interface is clean and easy to use. In fact, its power is in its simplicity.

In short, Microsoft CRM is a polished 1.0 release, but its still a 1.0 release.

Labs Director John Taschek can be reached at

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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