Microsoft Offering Free CRM Add-ons, Services

Microsoft opens its Convergence conference in New Orleans by announcing that a variety of its newest CRM add-ons and services will be offered at zero cost. The free items include eight new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accelerators, or business-oriented software extensions, and a new SLA for CRM Online customers.

Microsoft announced at Convergence March 10 that it would make a number of its latest CRM add-ons and services free, including eight new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accelerators.
In addition, the company also announced a free Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online March 2009 Service Update and an SLA (service-level agreement) of 99.9 percent uptime to all Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers. The update features Internet lead capture, which helps drive qualified leads into the sales pipeline, as well as cloud integration services.

To sweeten the deal for developers who attended the conference in New Orleans, Microsoft offered savings on CRM Online and the Microsoft Dynamics suite to attendees.

The cost reductions are the latest in Microsoft's aggressive moves to promote its CRM. In April 2008, Microsoft rolled out its CRM Online package with a price and options aimed at undercutting SAAS provider

Now, with the recession, Microsoft and other software providers are focusing on both nuts-and-bolts customer retention and market expansion.

"They want to do the right thing to get customers on board," Ray Wang, an analyst with Forrester, said in an interview. "They're making it as easy as they can for people to purchase their software."

To that end, Microsoft has also offered 0 percent financing to new Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM customers for a limited time, and zero payments for six months via its SmartPay program, packaged with extended payments through Microsoft Financing.

The eight free Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accelerators, or downloadable software extensions, are designed to boost client marketing, sales and service capabilities. The Accelerators, which can be downloaded from this site, are Analytics, Business Productivity, CRM Notifications, Enterprise Search, eService, Event Management, Extended Sales Forecasting and Sales Methodologies.