Microsoft announced today that the next version of its customer relationship management (CRM) solution will be publicly available as a beta release in September.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 — code-named "CRM5" — includes stronger integration with Microsoft Outlook and Office, new visualization and collaboration features, and a more prominent role for partners.
Microsoft made the announcement at its Worldwide Partner Conference today. The software giant also said that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will be available in 40 markets and 41 languages by the end of the year.
The company will launch Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace in September, promising an easier way for partners to market and distribute solutions to Microsoft Dynamics customers. Customers will be able to search for applications and solution extensions from Microsoft and its partners for their CRM and ERP implementations. Dynamics Marketplace will be integrated within CRM 2011 so customers can search for applications from within their CRM environments.
As part of the October launch of the Microsoft Partner Network, companies registered in the network can receive 250 seats of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online at no charge for internal use.
CRM 2011 will "take full advantage of native Outlook functionality, including previews and conditional formatting," Microsoft said, while a new contextual CRM Ribbon for Outlook and browser clients will offer consistent Microsoft Office navigation.
SharePoint users will be able to provision SharePoint document repositories and embed directly within CRM 2011.
Inline data visualization will let users create and share inline charts "with drill-down intelligence to visually navigate data and uncover new insights," Microsoft said, while real-time dashboards can help monitor business performance and improve decision-making.
Role-based forms and views will give users fast access to information that they need while preventing them from seeing data that they are not authorized to view, and the new version will also offer personalized views.
Businesses will also be able to define key performance and business indicators to track and measure progress against organizational goals.
More information on the CRM beta can be found at http://crm.dynamics.com/crm2011beta.