Hosted Services more attractive to companies
As the cost of owning and managing IT hardware and software continues to climb, more and more South African companies, including larger corporates, are moving towards hosted services to meet their technology requirements. This is according to MWEB Business, South Africa's leading ISP, which this month announces the addition of Microsoft CRM to its range of hosted products.
MWEB Business launched its Microsoft-enabled software-as-a-service platform in 2008, with Microsoft's Hosted Exchange service first offered in May, followed by Microsoft SharePoint hosted document server launched in September.
Herman Jansen van Rensburg, Head of Product Management and Development at MWEB Business said that as an extension of MWEB's existing hosted offering, Microsoft CRM enables sales and customer service teams to manage every aspect of client interaction including client contact details, leads, sales and direct mail - and from anywhere, via a broadband connection.
"Microsoft CRM can be accessed from Outlook, which allows every interaction with customers to be logged and managed without any added steps necessary. The software also integrates well with our existing Microsoft Hosted Exchange offering, allowing email management, group calendars, company-wide address books and other contact information to be shared across a team or company.
And since the database (SQL) server and CRM software is hosted at MWEB, all of these products can be accessed via a broadband connection, from anywhere and at any time. With Microsoft CRM, sales teams will be able to log their activities, update customer details and the status of their business throughout the day from anywhere instead of waiting to be in the office".
Jansen van Rensburg said the programme will help companies find and develop customer relationships, keep customers happy and grow these relationships to enhance the business profitability.
"Finding customers is often easy, retaining them and keeping them happy is another thing. Microsoft CRM is flexible and fully customisable. It centralises customer information and correspondence across the business to identify new business opportunities and capturing proven workflows allowing your business to become responsive to client needs," he says.
Businesses will pay a monthly fee per user instead of investing large amounts of capital buying a server, and purchasing and licensing software. The product is ideally suited to small businesses with 25-50 users in the sales team but larger businesses are also using hosted products to trial in smaller sales teams.