Microsoft Takes CRM 4 International

Microsoft said Wednesday that it has begun shipping the first eight language editions of Dynamics CRM 4.0 on schedule.

The company shipped the English edition of the product just before Christmas and said, at that time, it would begin shipping the first batch of other language versions in January.

The first delivery totals eight languages – counting English – including French, Spanish, and simplified Chinese, the company said in a statement. Also included in this batch are Danish, Dutch, Finnish, and German editions.

In addition, the company said it’s on track to ship 17 more language versions within 90 days for a total of 25, the statement continued.

Dynamics CRM 4.0 is the name of the latest version of Microsoft’s customer relationship management software that it sells to partners who then provide it as a hosted-service to customers, or that customers purchase and host themselves internally.

Additionally, a Microsoft-hosted version of CRM 4.0 is also currently in beta testing and will be available under the name CRM Live during the first half of the year as part of Microsoft’s “Live” branded software-plus-services strategy, the company has said.

The additional 17 languages scheduled to ship in the next three months include Arabic, Brazilian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hong Kong Chinese, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, traditional Chinese and Turkish.

The most notable feature in CRM 4.0 is its so-called “multitenant” architecture, which enables a hosting partner, for instance, to run only one copy of the server but support multiple customers simultaneously and securely.

“Multitenancy is the big thing,” Laurie McCabe, senior analyst at researcher AMI Partners told Combined with the multilingual support, that’s an indication of Microsoft’s intent. “It’s clear that they’re serious about going after the global market,” she added.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft agrees.

“[With CRM 4.0] you have a fully multitenancy, multicurrency, and multilanguage situation,” Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, told For example, a hosting partner can provide multilingual access to CRM 4.0 running on its server and still be running a single copy of the server, he added.

Among other new features, the latest version adds business process automation based on Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation. It also provides new collaboration capabilities with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, such as real-time presence indicators within the CRM application.

Dynamics CRM was previously last updated to version 3.0 two years ago. That release supported 22 languages but did not feature multitenancy support.

Microsoft said it is also planning a 12-week, 50-city, 20 nation tour to promote Dynamics CRM 4.0.

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