Microsoft ships MS CRM early, but without VAT or multi-currency capabilties

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Microsoft is rush releasing MS CRM into the non-US markets, but without the VAT and multi-currency functionality that was cited as the reason for delaying its planned release outside of the US until the end of this year.

The company said that “overwhelming:” customer demand had brought forward their plans so that localised versions of MS CRM will be available in the UK now and in more than 20 countries and in nine languages by the end of 2003.

But in order to speed up the release, plans to add multi-currency and local VAT functionality have been “postponed” to an unspecified point in the future. The Navision and Axapta products acquired by Microsoft Business Solutions do offer this functionality and will be positioned as the best option for customers with international taxation requirements,

“Very few of our customers use the business quotes facility anyway,” said Simon Edwards, UK managing director of Microsoft Business Solutions. “In a perfect world, we’d like to have that functionality in the product, but what the customers have been prioritising is getting it into their hands.”

Microsoft had previously cited the need to build in VAT and multi-currency functionality as reasons why the software did not ship outside the US. “This is not the same product that was released in the US,” said Edwards. “One of the reasons for omitting the VAT and multi-currency functionality was to get other functionality, such as integration with the Windows 2003 server in. But had we known what we know now about the balance of features customers want, maybe we could have go it out earlier.”

A new channel strategy is also being put in place to get the product to market with partners being lined up for certification. Existing Navision and Great Plains partners and resellers can be certified to sell MS CRM, but new partners certified to sell MS CRM will not be selling Navision or Great Plains products. In the UK, MBS is working with 14 “beta partners” to get them certified.

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