Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

How many businesses have Microsoft CRM on their "short list"?

According to Line56's report on the Small and Medium Business (SMB) Software Market, 37% of all companies have Microsoft CRM on their shortlist of CRM applications to evaluate. That's great news of course!

In addition, Line56's report states that:

  • 66% use Microsoft systems management
  • 65% use Microsoft's development platforms
  • 56% use SQL Server database

Once Microsoft CRM 3.0 hits the market later this year, I would not be surprised if 70% to 80% of all companies (not just SMB's) put Microsoft CRM on their "shortlist".

Motorola Q Phone Using Windows Mobile 5.0 Announced

Motorola just announced their new "Q" phone, which is one of the hottest looking phones I've seen in a long time. The Moto Q will be "one of the first devices to run on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 and it is optimized for Microsoft Exchange 2003". The Blackberry devices clearly have a strangehold on the corporate market, and unfortunately Blackberry does not use any Microsoft software at all. Therefore, I think the Moto Q could be a breakthrough for Microsoft (and Microsoft CRM mobile access) for several reasons:

- Even though Microsoft CRM integrates with the Pocket PC, none of our customers have deployed this software because NO ONE wants to use the Pocket PC device. The Pocket PC hardware is massive, clunky and most don't even include a cell phone.

- While at the Microsoft Partner Conference a few weeks ago, I could not help but notice that a very large percentage (50%? 75%?) of people using cell phones were using some sort of Blackberry device. Considering that the people are the Microsoft Partner Conference are (of course) the most hard core Microsoft supporters, the fact that very few of them use Windows Smartphone is a real damning statement. I personally use the Blackberry 7230 because the Windows Smartphones are too big, too slow and too expensive.

- There are a few ISV's that offer Blackberry  /Microsoft CRM integration, but I much prefer the Windows UI over the Blackberry UI.

- I expect that Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 will work with Microsoft Exchange at no additional charge (unlike the Blackberry Enterprise Server software).

Add it all up and the Moto Q combined with Windows Mobile 5.0 could be just the reasons all those Blackberry users (including myself) finally switch!

Now for the bad news...the Moto Q isn't expected to be available until Q1 of 2006.

Sonoma Partners is hiring

We currently have a job opening for a .NET Software Developer, and we've been searching high and low for the right candidate. If you have a few years experience with .NET (C# preferred), posses an incredibly sharp mind and a burning desire to learn...please contact us ASAP! At this time, we are only considering candidates local to the Chicagoland area.

New KB Articles from June Published

We posted the 37 new Microsoft CRM Knowledge Base Articles that Microsoft added in June 2005. KB Article #900421 contains a helpful tip that most users probably aren't aware of:

You can use the "in" operator with Microsoft Business Solutions CRM workflow. When you use the "in" operator, you can evaluate values in a list by separating each item with a semicolon. Consider the following code sample that uses the "in" operator. The workflow rule responds to the create event of an account. If the address1_city field contains the value city1 or city2 , update the accountcategorycode field to Standard. Notice that a semicolon separates the values, and indicates that either value is acceptable.

When account is created
Account.address1_city in city1;city2
Update: Account.accountcategorycode = Standard
end if

In plain English, this rule checks if the city of the Account is equal to "city1" OR ""city2, and if it equals either value, then it updates the account category code. We posted an example last year that shows how to create a workflow rule that uses a similar technique to assign Leads to sales people based on the State of the Lead.

Longhorn gets a name!

VistalogoRumors started flying around the Internet today that the official name of Longhorn, the code name for the operating system after Windows XP, will be Windows Vista.

Not sure if it is pronounced "Vis-ta" or "Vee-sta", but either way it seems like a decent enough name to me. Moving away from the year-based naming like "Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows2000" is a good idea with the delivery date a moving target! The latest I heard is that Windows Vista should be out to customers in calendar Q4 2006.

CRM 3.0 is the star of the Microsoft Partner Conference

We attended the Microsoft Partner Conference in Minneapolis from July 7th through July 10th. After catching up with our customers from being out of the office last week, I finally have a few minutes to share what we saw at the conference regarding Microsoft CRM 3.0:

  • The Microsoft CRM Vision Breakout Session (presented by Brad Wilson) had huge partner demand and over 200 people were turned away from Thursday's session because the room was FULL. Microsoft had to scramble and create two new CRM Vision Breakout Sessions to accomodate the crowds. Believe me, this was very very unusual!

  • The Microsoft CRM product team gave live previews of CRM 3.0 on the trade show floor. It was easy to find the booth because there were literally masses of people (5 to 7 people deep) swarming the monitors trying to get a peek of CRM 3.0. Of course, the new feature set and UI were well received by everyone.

  • Speaking of CRM 3.0 reviews, everyone is buzzing about how the next release will provide a major competitive advantage over competing CRM applications. I don't have the verbatim quotes but Brad Wilson shared some strongly worded quotes from industry analysts about how impressed they were with Microsoft CRM 3.0. Even just walking around the conference and talking with other Microsoft CRM partners you could feel the excitement for the new release.

  • We attended a party hosted by the Microsoft CRM product team, and spoke with a bunch of the CRM product team. The food and drinks were great, but it was also cool to hear some of the 3.0 "war stories" directly from the source.

Overall, Microsoft CRM 3.0 was the star of the show and almost every single Microsoft Partner wanted to learn more about the product.

On a related note, Microsoft awarded our company Sonoma Partners as the 2005 Global Microsoft CRM Partner of the Year! With over 6,000 Partners attending the conference and tens of thousands of Microsoft Partners worldwide, this award is obviously a great honor. After winning this same award in 2003, we are very proud that our time and technology investment in the Microsoft CRM product is continuing to pay off.

Updated CRM 1.2 Implementation Guide

Microsoft published a new version on the CRM 1.2 Implementation Guide on July 1st. Because the document is several hundred pages long, it is difficult to quickly determine what is new. However, we definitely found some differences in the new version. Here is one that I found and highlighted:

Unfortunately, there is no version number on the CRM 1.2 Implementation Guide file and it is still dated October 2003! However, please make sure you download the latest for your use.

Microsoft CRM "Next Version" finally has an official name

Just as we predicted last week, Microsoft released more public information today about the next version of Microsoft CRM. After several months of being referred to as just "Next Version", the next release of Microsoft CRM finally has an official name: Microsoft CRM 3.0. "There are things on the 3.0 roadmap that our customers and partners asked us to do [for this version], so we re-scoped, and the vast majority of the 3.0 roadmap aligns with what we said [2.0] was going to be, so that's why we changed the name," said Brad Wilson, general manager for Microsoft CRM.

Microsoft trickled out a few more public details about the Microsoft CRM 3.0 features including new module information, new licensing options and a new version designed for Small Business Server 2003.

You can also check out the official Microsoft CRM press release about Microsoft CRM 3.0...