Chapter 1. Taking a First Look at Microsoft CRM 4

Personal information managers (PIM) and contact management systems (CMS) were introduced in the mid-1980s. Both PIM and CMS enabled you to organize the names, addresses, and phone numbers for all of your business contacts. PIMs were superseded by sales force automation (SFA) systems in the late 1980s. Products such as ACT and GoldMine initially combined scheduling functions with contact management. By the mid-1990s, these systems evolved into simple customer relationship management (CRM) systems, attempting to involve not just salespeople but also customer service and management.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4 (that's the official name) is the next generation of CRM systems. Microsoft CRM is based on .NET (pronounced dot-net) technology, pioneered by Microsoft. Not only does Microsoft CRM have functionality for sales, customer service, and now marketing, it takes great advantage of the Internet, or more specifically, Web services. This Web service focus is what defines the .NET strategy. In a nutshell, Web services enable applications to be easily integrated, rapidly configured to meet your business needs, and extended to both internal and external users.

Tracking Your Contacts

Microsoft CRM has a record type or entity called a contact. A contact, in this sense, is a person. It's a concept taken from Microsoft Outlook. In fact, contact records from Outlook are directly transferable into contact records in Microsoft CRM.

Microsoft CRM calls ...

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