Small businesses now get CRM tool with their Office subscription

Microsoft launched a tool for Outlook that helps manage customer relationships

Small businesses that need a tool to track their relationships with customers now have a new weapon from Microsoft in their arsenal.

On Monday, the company launched Outlook Customer Manager, a lightweight customer relationship management (CRM) system. It allows users to track their customers, manage deals in progress, track tasks and more, all from their Outlook email client.

The launch builds on Microsoft's ongoing push to capture the small business market. Earlier this year, the company launched Bookings, a service designed to help service-focused businesses manage customer appointments.

It's a move by Microsoft to further compete with Salesforce and other players in the cloud CRM space. Companies that already have an Office 365 Business Premium subscription may not want to choose one of the competing CRM systems, if they can get OCM for free.

As the needs of those businesses grow, they may be more likely to turn to Microsoft's Dynamics 365 cloud CRM system. OCM gives users a path to migrate to the more powerful service when their needs become more complex.

outlook customer manager pane Microsoft

Outlook Customer Manager provides users with information about their customers right inside Microsoft's email client.

OCM takes a few forms inside Outlook on the desktop. First, users can pull up customer records alongside their emails so it's possible to track the history of a customer's account, what tasks are associated with them, and what appointments they have scheduled.

There's also another screen where users can see a list of all the customers they have, and then drill down into individual accounts, similar to a traditional CRM system.

outlook customer manager screen Microsoft

Outlook Customer Manager lets users see a list of customers at a glance.

In addition to working inside Outlook, OCM also has an iOS app that people can use to access the system on the go. In the future, Microsoft says that it plans to bring the app to other mobile platforms.

The service will roll out first to Office 365 Business Premium customers who are part of Microsoft's First Release track. The company expects that it will be available to everyone with a Business Premium plan in the coming months, and Microsoft is also working to make it available for Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E5 customers as well.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Office 365Microsoft

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?