Microsoft will roll out major enhancements to its customer relationship management suite next month.
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Microsoft is preparing a major update to its Dynamics CRM suite of customer relationship management tools that includes the addition of several new information and security resources.
The update will be available in December. The company did not provide a more specific release date. "This release, the first in a planned set of rapid innovation, puts us in a position to redefine user experiences for business professionals," said Bob Stutz, corporate VP of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a statement.
Among other things, users will gain the ability to launch Skype and Yammer sessions directly from within Dynamics CRM. "We've reimagined the business process and infused new communication and collaboration capabilities powered by Skype and Yammer," said Stutz.
The update also includes deeper integration with Bing Maps, which will generate addresses and other information about prospects and leads.
Users also will be getting greater flexibility in client devices. Microsoft plans to add compatibility for Dynamics CRM on Windows versions of Firefox and Chrome, as well as for Firefox and Safari on Mac OS. "We continue to help sales and customer service professionals drive new levels of productivity on the browser of their choice, and across a wide range of devices," said Stutz.
Also coming in December is a version of Dynamics CRM for the iPad. And next year, the company plans to release a Dynamics CRM app for Windows 8, which was released to the public last week.
The December update for Dynamics CRM also will include administrative and security enhancements. There'll be greater extensibility for cloud deployments with the addition of custom .Net workflow services, and new bulk data APIs, which should make it easier for customers to load and modify large data sets.
On the security side, Microsoft is adding support for Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2, which establishes a framework for data encryption.
Microsoft is hoping the enhancements will help it keep pace with CRM specialists such as Salesforce and SugarCRM, as well as enterprise players such as Oracle. The software maker recently reported that Dynamics CRM revenues increased 6% in the most recent quarter, although it did not reveal total sales. The company said Dynamics CRM now has more than 3 million seats in enterprises worldwide.
Microsoft shares jumped 3.42% to $29.51 in trading Wednesday after Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt reiterated an "overweight" rating on the company's shares, and a price target of $37. Holt, in a note to clients, said the company is "off to a good start" with Windows 8.
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