Microsoft offers free Elixir for unified CRM GUI

Microsoft has released free code samples for Project Elixir, which made Outlook the central GUI for in-house CRM applications.

Microsoft Monday made available free code samples and technical information for a project the company undertook to make its Outlook client the centralized GUI (graphical user interface) for its in-house CRM (customer relationship management) applications.

Microsoft hatched the project, called Project Elixir, in July 2002 to solve common problems its salesforce faced when trying to access customer information from disparate back-end CRM applications, said Tim O'Brien, senior product manager, platform strategy group for Microsoft. Those problems included having access to multiple records of often disparate customer contact information while lacking access to the right CRM repository for other information, he said. Microsoft uses Siebel CRM and ClarifyCRM, as well as some custom-built applications, he added.

The result of the project is an add-in to Outlook called Customer Explorer that allows salespeople to access all accounts, activities and opportunities stored in various CRM applications through one interface, O'Brien said.

Code samples, a case study and technical guidance for how the company implemented Project Elixir are now available for free on Microsoft's Web site.

O'Brien said that Microsoft is like many enterprise companies in that its back-end CRM applications are separate silos, and its salesforce must toggle back and forth between different applications to access information that just as easily could be stored in one place.

"People forget that we're an enterprise customer and we have the same challenges they do in terms of trying to get more value out of existing stuff over the years," he said.

Microsoft used Web services technology to integrate information through Outlook, because its sales team "began and ended their day" in that application. Outlook is the client for doing e-mail and storing contact information in Microsoft Office.

A Project Elixir case study is available here, while source code for the project is available here.

Technical guidance in the form of white papers are available here and here.

Microsoft is positioning its Office productivity suite as a unified way companies in the future will access back-end business applications, and merging contact information through Outlook is just one way to do that, O'Brien said.

Company executives had said they are planning tighter integration between Office and Microsoft's Dynamics suite of business applications in the next release of Office, Office 12, which is due out in the second half of this year. Microsoft also plans to make Office 12 more of a tool for providing business intelligence such as reporting and analytics from within the various programs themselves.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?