Microsoft Corp is taking up a mark from rival CRM (Customer Relationship Management) trades Salesforce.com with its upcoming release of CRM 2011. CRM 2011, formally CRM 5 will be released this September as online offering for publicbeta. This was according to a statement which corresponded with the company’s World Wide partner conference on July 12. Microsoft is describing the Marketplace as “an online directory that will make solution discovery more efficient for the clientele. It will also provide an easy way for associates to market and distribute decision to Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well as ERP consumers.” To support the new release, a market place web page will be added where partners can put their complementary applications built around the program, up for sale.

A new Dynamic Market place

Among the innovative features expected in the forthcoming release, the Market place is the most prominent one. The Dynamics Market place which widely resembles Salesforce.com’s Appexchange will go live that month as well.

Microsoft is planning to release an online version of the CRM 2011 before the end of 2010 after which it will release a software-only product. The company officials are evading the question of when the software version of the product will be officially out but according to sources, the year 2011 is their target.

New features expected

The CRM product is getting a range of updates consisting of roll- tailored interfaces which can be customized to correspond to a users job functions and improved merging with Outlook, Office and Sharepoint.

The new release according to Mr. Brad Wilson, General Manager of Microsoft CRM, “Unlocks fresh opportunities and provides a single advancement environment for cloud-based and on premises deployments. Together, this new release will help to raise the bar in the CRM market.”

Stiff competition from Microsoft

Given Microsoft’s accomplishments in the enterprise, analysts are predicting that it may give Salesforce.com a run for its money come September. But one thing is for sure, the list of features and the number of updates accessible through CRM vendors’ increases with each release. SalesLogistix CEO, Mr. David Taber recommended that content managers and other CIOs use a checklist for weeding through vendor offer. He suggested this while assessing the CRM solution. In an article onCIO.com, Mr. Taber stated the 10 components of a solid CRM proposal.

Sales.com has been giving its clients a chance to purchase, download and install applications through its partners using its AppExchange store, which it redesigned and streamlined in the year 2009. AppExchange currently has more than 1,000 apps. Till now, it has been guiding its consumers who are looking for third party add-on for its CRM and ERP products to use its Solution finder search tools. But is not a site where consumers can actually go download and install codes. The new market place will allow partners to post codes for which customers can actually buy, download and install.

Much more to be done.

Generally, Microsoft has a lot of work to do before it overthrows Sales.com. The latter is the leading sales automation software in the world, with figures of up to US$885 million in allied application revenue in the year 2009, according to latest report by analysts firm IDC. The IDC figures are exclusive of “service revenue derived from consulting, training, and systems assimilation that is detached from the right-to-use license,” according to reports.