Microsoft ready to release CRM 2011 in Middle East

Microsoft Business Solutions recently launched CRM 2011 in 42 countries and is bringing the software to the Middle East in April.

The Microsoft Business Solutions division deals with the company’s CRM and ERP business solutions. The new generation of CRM now gives customers the power of choice, according to Microsoft, so they can decide whether to deploy the solution on site, online or in a hosted manner with the same code as the first generation of CRM.

Benoit de la Tour, vice president of Dynamics EMEA, Microsoft Business Solutions says the new generation CRM software costs about one half to one third of the average selling price of solutions other companies are offering for comparable services.

“This is a solution that has been thought out and built to be very easy to use, very user-friendly and we are seeing strong user adoption, CRM has always been a challenge in terms of user adoption because of the complexity and lack of integration so we have seen great momentum since our launch in January,” said de la Tour.

Gartner analysts are currently positioning CRM 2011 in the top right of the Gartner Magic Quadrant, proving that the product launch has been successful, according to de la Tour.

In a month and a half, CRM 2011 has reached 16,000 trials and the company is beginning to see some subscriptions.

In the Middle East, the code for the on-premises CRM 2011 will be available in April, although one of Microsoft Business Solutions’ biggest clients Mubadala, has already migrated their entire environment to CRM 2011.

“Two days ago we had an existing customers celebration and we spent two days on that and we were celebrating 1,500 customers in the Gulf region for Dynamics ERP and CRM,” said Tamer Elhamy, Microsoft Business Solutions lead for the Gulf region.

Microsoft Business Solutions is positioning the Dynamics AX, part of its ERP software solutions, as a two-tier deployment enterprise solution.

“AX is being aimed at the typical mid-market company with a global deployment for end-to-end ERP covering complex processes, so a mid-market company with the same kind of requirements as a global company and we are also positioning AX for the enterprise business in what we call two-tier ERP for companies that have already implemented SAP or Oracle as a central hub, we are positioning the AX to cover the spokes on a smaller hub, other processes than the core processes,” said de la Tour.

AX is currently positioned in Gartner’s leader quadrant,

“For the past two years we were the only one in the leader quadrant, this year we had another competitor, but we maintained our position and we are growing as well.

Here we have a lot of big customers and big enterprises like a big multi-national in chemical manufacturing, we also have Burkan Munitions which is the first factory for munitions in the Middle East and they are running on Dynamic AX and we showed them the new version and the entire stack integration with Powerpoint, Lync, with reporting services, and how they are integrated with Dynamics,” said Elhamy.

Microsoft is currently investing $9.5b a year in research and development, which is a large portion of its revenue.

“The guiding principles around innovation for our solutions, and Dynamics is getting a very big share of that investment, is all around how can we make our user life easier and simpler and so it is all about building strong reliable robust processes with tools that are every day tools and are highly integrated with the rest of the Microsoft stack,” said de la Tour.

For Microsoft’s ERP solutions, the company is choosing to have a strong industry approach to lower the total cost of ownership. The industries implementing the company’s ERP solutions the most in the Middle East are; retail, discrete and process manufacturing, public sector, distribution and the service industry.

“We are seeing the Middle East as having great potential for growth. Dynamics in the Middle East has been growing very steadily in the last few years in both components that we have in the Dynamics family, the CRM and ERP space,” said de la Tour.

“We have seen continental Europe, especially France the UK and Germany really slowing down in 2008-9 while the Middle East was still growing steadily.”

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