CRM Upgrade From Microsoft, Creative Manager CRM, Satuit CRM Sale

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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CRM Upgrade From Microsoft, Creative Manager CRM, Satuit CRM Sale

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music, since we seem to be on a Stones kick here, is Sticky Fingers, which some consider their best. First Coffee's willing to grant it could be as high as their second best, but no higher:

Today in Munich, at Convergence 2006 EMEA, Microsoft announced it will release a new version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Windows Vista.

Microsoft has also announced that, in addition to being offered through Microsoft's standard Volume Licensing program, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be offered through the licensing model that is used with Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning products. Company officials say this is to make it "simpler and more convenient" for customers and partners to buy and deploy Microsoft Dynamics for customer relationship management (CRM), financial management and supply chain management.

The new version, compatible with the 2007 Office release and Windows Vista, will be released at the same time as the 2007 Office release and will ultimately be available in 18 languages.

Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said customers and partners could deploy it "as on-premise software or an on-demand service." Microsoft officials outlined the new features as follows:

An "enriched user experience" based on the 2007 Microsoft Office system. The new release of Microsoft CRM picks up on the new Ribbon user experience of the 2007 Office release, and lets users access roles-based CRM capabilities through Microsoft Office Outlook, Microsoft Internet Explorer and other mobile devices.

"Richer data visualization" with Microsoft Office Excel 2007. Rich data visualization and business intelligence enhancements to Microsoft Office Excel 2007 for "better analysis and decision-making for CRM managers and users."

Desktop action and insight using Windows Vista gadgets. New Windows Vista gadgets allow Microsoft Dynamics CRM activities, analytics and alerts to be placed directly onto the desktop or home page.

Unified communications with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. The new release of Microsoft CRM enables users to store voice-mail messages in Outlook and track them automatically in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

And a feature which should be popular with Starbucks corporate customers, enhanced security with BitLocker Drive Encryption in Windows Vista. The new BitLocker capability in Windows Vista helps protect confidential CRM data on laptops from being accessed by unauthorized individuals.

Microsoft also announced today that licensing options for Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be increased, by adding it to the licensing model that is offered with Microsoft Dynamics ERP products.

This includes both Business Ready Licensing and Modular Based Licensing.

By adding pricing information for Microsoft Dynamics CRM to the price lists for each of Microsoft's financial and business management products -- Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics SL, customers will "find it even more simple and convenient to buy and deploy full-suite Microsoft Dynamics solutions for their businesses," company officials hope.

In keeping with Microsoft's usual practice of hitting user testimonials hard in announcing new releases, the Redmond Giants have announced that the National Football League's Indianapolis Colts and the South African financial group Sasfin Bank Ltd. are happily on board with the new stuff -- in the Colts' case, even switching over from

About this pricing deal, First Coffee remembers back in July Microsoft announced the Business Ready Licensing model and the Business Ready Enhancement Plan for Microsoft Dynamics as "simplifications and improvements in value to the licensing and maintenance programs" for its Microsoft Dynamics business management products.

They said Microsoft Dynamics CRM functionality would be included on the Microsoft Business Solutions price lists over the next 12 months, starting with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Glad to see they're on schedule with something to do with CRM up there in Redmond.

Business Ready Licensing was described by Microsoft in July as an attempt to streamline pricing for Microsoft Dynamics products -- Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics SL -- by "moving from a pricing model based on hundreds of modules and granules to a new model based primarily on the number of concurrent users who actually use the software."

This new model has three offerings: Microsoft Dynamics Business Essentials, Microsoft Dynamics Advanced Management and Microsoft Dynamics Advanced Management Enterprise. The models are based primarily on common functionality and, Microsoft officials claim, represent "a price reduction for a typical entry-level configuration, eliminating much of the complexity of licensing enterprise resource planning software."

It's not quite as high-profile as Microsoft, but Creative Manager Inc., vendor of Creative Manager Pro software, has released version 8.37 of its flagship product, Creative Manager Pro with what company officials characterize as "full-featured CRM capability."

Saying the new release 8.37 includes "specific enhancements that our large agency clients asked for," Ron Ause, Creative Manager's director of marketing said the product now has "more powerful features."

Among the variety of enhancements now available to all Creative Manager Pro users is the ability to automatically mass e-mail AR invoices to customers with an option for the client to pay via credit card directly from the invoice.

Media enhancements were included in the previous version 8.35, and improvements to the Transaction Preference function here give users the option to sync vendor invoices from Strata and SmartPlus as "approved" or "not approved."

Additionally, new upgrades in the product company officials claim is "the only Ad Agency software and Project Management Software for the Creative Design industry," offer logic to determine the outstanding open amount on a vendor invoice being applied to pre-billed orders when importing form Strata or SmartPlus.

The updated product has also added new features that work with Apple's latest Tiger Mac OS X and future Leopard Unix-based Operating System and Microsoft Windows. Company officials describe Creative Manager Pro as going "beyond costing to offer full Project Management, CRM, Digital Asset Management, billing and accounting, and Extranet capabilities."

Creative Manager Pro is created exclusively for design firms, ad agencies, in-house creative/MarCom departments, and creative service firms. It's a web-based integrated project management software and job tracking tool supporting Customer Relationship Management, Document Management, Shared Calendaring, Accounting and other functions.

Satuit Technologies, Inc., has announced that Harris Investment Management, Inc. has selected Satuit as its customer relationship management (CRM) provider.

HIM offers a range of investment management products and services. To support its business model, HIM wanted CRM built for the asset management industry rather than a general-purpose package. While there were a few generic CRM solutions available that were enhanced to better serve the asset management industry, even these were not built from the ground up to serve the investment professional, HIM officials say.

SatuitCRM is available on-demand, another factor in HIM's choice.

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