Microsoft Corp. today kicked off a four-city, 10-day tour of Europe to promote its Dynamics CRM and ERP applications while also announcing that it will make its CRM Online software available in all major international markets in the second half of 2010.
Microsoft also said it plans to deliver the fourth service update to CRM Online sometime next month. The update will add a number of new services and capabilities, including streamlined sign-up and what Microsoft officials called "faster out-of-the-box time to value" compared with previous releases of the product.
Over the past year, sales of CRM Online, including both the version hosted in Microsoft's own data centers and the one hosted through partners and resellers, have increased significantly compared with purchases of the on-premises Dynamics CRM software, according to Microsoft.
"We are seeing a strong uptake over the past year of CRM Online," said Brad Wilson, general manager of Dynamics CRM at Microsoft. "The partner-hosted version grew at 10%. Our business is now a solid mix of the on-demand and on-premises versions."
Wilson added that the mix of Dynamics CRM sales between North America and other regions is now "about 50-50," although sales have grown faster in North America than overseas this year for the first time in a couple of years, thanks to the increased interest in the on-demand product.
Microsoft plans to hold one-day Convergence 2009 Europe user conferences focused on its business applications in four cities over the next 10 days, starting today in London and ending in Rotterdam on Nov. 5.
At today's event, Microsoft announced that Play It Again Sam Entertainment Group, a Brussels-based music company, has moved to the hosted versions of both Dynamics ERP and CRM to help with its targeted marketing campaigns and to roll up management information from multiple sources. That process now takes a matter of minutes instead of days, according to a statement from the company's CIO, Mal Allerton.
Microsoft also announced that the City Of London has upgraded to Dynamics CRM, which officials at the software vendor said has resulted in greater capacity for delivering a number of different services, including event planning and voter management.
Addressing users in his keynote speech in London today, Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS), said that the company will more aggressively position its CRM products in an attempt to better exploit growing trends such as environmental sustainability and social media. Microsoft will also further promote features such as Windows Touch for addressing issues such as regulation and compliance, he said.
Microsoft recently has scored a number of customer wins in the "green IT" market, mainly through its partner network, Tatarinov added. One business partner, Atrion International Inc., a Quebec-based company that focuses on green technologies for manufacturers, has helped several IT shops reduce the risks associated with hazardous materials and ensure better regulatory compliance.
Tatarinov also announced that all Microsoft Dynamics CRM products are now certified to work with the Windows 7 desktop operating system announced last week, as well as with Windows Server 2008 Release 2. The company now has more than 1 million users of Dynamics CRM, he said.