Microsoft releases Dynamics CRM 4.0 to manufacturing

By Ephraim Schwartz, InfoWorld |  Software

Targeted mainly at its VAR (Value Added Reseller) channel, Microsoft Dynamics
CRM Version 4.0 was released to manufacturing this week.

Version 4.0, code-named Titan, will be available in several versions: an on-premises
application, a partner or VAR-hosted version plus a version of Dynamics hosted
by Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live, the Microsoft-hosted deployment.

All versions will share a single code base and the hosted versions use a multi-tenant
architecture.

Addressing its new upgrade message to its VAR channel, Microsoft officials
said Version 4.0 includes an upgraded version of multi-tenant that will support
multiple customers per server.

Other upgrades include a choice of 25 languages and support for multiple currencies
and embedded BI capabilities, including an ad hoc reporting wizard that will
allow nontechnical users to create custom reports.

Version 4.0 will also integrate with Microsoft's unified communications platform,
Microsoft Office Communications Server, along with its presence and location
features.

Although Microsoft will offer to host a version on its Live platform, the channel
is the backbone of its strategy, according to most industry analysts.

Josh Greenbaum, principal analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting said
that the Microsoft channel is so strong in the SMB market that it is the envy
of all the other software vendors.

"Everyone is trying to steal Microsoft channel partners. If you are an
enterprise ISV there is no better and more mature channel than Microsoft,"
Greenbaum said.

Microsoft and Novell have the two oldest legacy channels in the industry, and
Greenbaum called them, "the nuts and bolts wizards."

In a prepared statement, Microsoft said it relies on its strong network of
partner companies to bring technology to customers in the SMB marketplace, claiming
over 400,000 partners.

Dynamics CRM 4.0 is expected to be available in the first quarter.

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