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Chapter 21. Future Directions for Micros... > Short- and Long-Term Direction

Short- and Long-Term Direction

Through our discussions with various product planners and Product Managers, we've been able to arrive at some short- and long-term goals Microsoft has for CRM. As mentioned earlier, at the time of this writing the immediate release feature sets were still being determined and were to be heavily influenced by customer and partner feedback to the first release. Likely to be included in this list are a few feature requests that come up repeatedly:

  • Internationalization— With the acquisition of Navision, creating an international version of Microsoft CRM that deals with multicurrency, date formats, language, and Navision product integration is the key to tapping into a huge market. This will be highly prioritized.

  • Data Duplicate Checking— This was one of the most requested early items, so it is likely that it will appear in a Service Pack.

  • Customer Portal— Among other things, this highly requested component would enable companies to give their customers the ability to submit service cases and update their own profile (their address) over the Web. It has been mentioned that this could make it in an interim release (1.1?) and some partners have already built variations of this functionality.

  • Survey/Profiles— Survey/Profile data structures enable the compilation of multiple question/response type fields for tracking additional data against CRM objects. Early versions of the CRM database included traces of these structures as they were initially scheduled for inclusion, but later removed.

  • Chat— Early versions of the database also included references to chat functionality. Microsoft product planners have alluded strongly to their future direction of collaborative CRM.

  • Schema Extensibility— Version 1.0 enables CRM objects to be extended with custom fields, but new objects cannot be added to the object model. This is a near certainty in version 2.0 because it is critical for true verticalization.

  • Marketing Functionality— Version 1.0 of Microsoft CRM was marketed as having light marketing functionality. In this was included the lead management, email templates, direct email, and mail merge capabilities. It is rumored that version 3.0 will introduce marketing applications for tracking of specific marketing campaigns and results.



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