The Microsoft .NET platform continues to gain support from enterprise application vendors with Siebel Systems Inc. and Best Software Inc. pledging support in their forthcoming CRM ( customer relationship management) offerings.
As part of a multiyear global strategic alliance with Microsoft announced last week, Siebel will incorporate Microsoft's .NET software into products and participate with Microsoft in related development and marketing efforts.
Best will announce this week that its new Saleslogix Version 6 CRM architecture is .NET compatible and designed to facilitate integration with applications built with Visual Basic and Visual Stdio.NET"Microsoft is trying to get large enterprise vendors to really support .NET," said Eric Austvold, an analyst with AMR Research in Boston. "Microsoft's challenge is becoming recognized as a solid infrastructure provider in the enterprise on a level playing field with companies like Sun, IBM, or BEA. With a back-office enterprise software player like Siebel & it is a good shot in the arm for [Microsoft]."
Siebel has committed to using the .NET technology with the next-generation of its CRM applications, including its enterprise sales, marketing and service applications. The companies will work together on development, marketing, global sales and integrated support for enterprise customers.
"The Web services inflection point in the industry is bringing to light the fact that applications and data that are critical to organizations don't have to live in isolated islands anymore," said Adam Sohn, Microsoft .NET platform product manager. "Siebel is a clear leader in enterprise e-business applications -- CRM in particular -- and has been evolving that to support business processes right out of the box."
The alliance will prove especially helpful to Siebel customer that are struggling to access valuable enterprise data trapped at the client, said Nick Brown, director of the Siebel Microsoft Program Office.
"The Microsoft technology stack around Web services helps you seamlessly integrate to Office, [which] is really going to help our customers with greater visibility to this data," Brown said.
While Siebel plans to integrate its product offering with .NET, it will, however, continue to also work with other platforms, most significantly Sun Microsystems' J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) technology.
For its part, Saleslogix also will include integration to Microsoft Office and enhanced Web client functionality that includes Outlook and Excel integration in its new offering. New mail merge and e-mail capabilities are designed to boost productivity for sales representatives, according to company officials. Finally, new advanced remote synchronization in Saleslogix is designed to deliver more accurate and complete information to sales managers.