North American Customer Momentum Signals Worldwide Anticipation For Microsoft Business Solutions CRM

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 9, 2003 — Today at the Microsoft®
Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft Business Solutions announced that Microsoft Business Solutions CRM, released earlier this year, is enjoying significant momentum in the marketplace. Microsoft has reached a milestone number of 1,000 customers using Microsoft CRM version 1.0 and anticipates continuing momentum in North America and globally with the upcoming release of version 1.2. In addition, more than 1,500 CRM partners have already signed on to resell the product, and more than 300 independent software vendors (ISVs) are currently working to extend the CRM solution. Microsoft CRM 1.2 will be available in nine languages worldwide by the end of the calendar year. A significant number of business partners in countries all over the world already have registered to work with a beta version of Microsoft CRM 1.2.

Microsoft CRM empowers businesses to develop and maintain profitable customer relationships through lead and opportunity management, incident management, a searchable knowledge base, and powerful reporting tools. Built using Microsoft .NET-connected technologies, Microsoft CRM is easy to deploy, integrate and customize. Working closely with Microsoft’s channel of business partners, organizations are using Microsoft CRM to help them maximize the relationships they have with their customers by offering a superior level of service.

“Microsoft CRM was a better fit for AAA Mortgage and Finance than other more-expensive and less-flexible CRM options,” said Sam Lloyd, president of AAA Mortgage and Finance. Working closely with Microsoft Business Solutions Certified partner I.B.I.S. Inc., the company has deployed an application that has reduced time spent in the sales cycle, Lloyd said, as well as brought effective contact and activity management onto a unified platform, offered sales personnel a view into critical back-office activity on a single piece of software, saved training costs and time by eliminating the need to use legacy systems to access information, allowed sales management to route sales leads to the appropriate sales channel based on product experience, and placed customer communications at the center of all processes across the company.

In August 2003, the Schwan Food Company, working with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Inetium Inc., deployed Microsoft CRM Sales Professional for its 400-employee call center division. The division offers services to Schwan’s network of businesses as well as companies outside the Schwan Food Company umbrella, including Home Depot Inc., U.S. Bancorp, Mannheim Steamroller, NEC America Inc. and Canon Inc. “We’re using Microsoft CRM to help us reach our strategic goal, which is to establish the Schwan Call Center as the call center of choice for small to midmarket segment companies whose primary customer interactions take place over the Internet or via inbound calls,” said Dennis Jensen, account executive with Schwan’s Call Center.

H & R Block Financial Advisors Inc., a full-service brokerage firm that is a member of every major U.S. stock exchange, was looking for a CRM system that would help ensure a consistent sales process and high level of customer service for its clients, as well as the ability to increase personal productivity for its 1,500 advisors in 168 locations nationwide. H & R Block evaluated several CRM solutions, chose Microsoft CRM in March 2003 and was live with the solution by the end of July. “We were looking for a system that fit within our company’s technology and operating architecture, leveraging our commitment to Web services to provide integration with our back-office and front-office platforms. We were also very intrigued by the integrated approach that Microsoft took with existing personal productivity tools we already use, such as Outlook®
and Office,” said John Thomson, vice president of H & R Block Financial Advisors. “Microsoft CRM’s close integration with Outlook and other Microsoft products and services provided the solution we were looking for.”

About Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference combines the best elements of two previous events — Fusion, for Microsoft partners, and Stampede, for Microsoft Business Solutions partners — to provide even more valuable and informative learning opportunities in leadership, sales, marketing, services and technology. More information can be found at .

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions, a business group of Microsoft, offers a wide range of integrated, end-to-end business applications and services designed to help small, midmarket segment and corporate businesses become more connected with customers, employees, partners and suppliers. Microsoft Business Solutions’ applications optimize strategic business processes across financial management, analytics, human resources management, project management, customer relationship management, field service management, supply chain management, e-commerce, manufacturing and retail management. The applications are designed to provide insight to help customers achieve business success. More information about Microsoft Business Solutions can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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