Microsoft CRM Exploits Family Ties

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 john_taschek@ziffdavis.com.