Latin American CRM implementations big on sales force automation - Microsoft

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sales force automation represents one of the main draws for Latin American companies implementing CRMs, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Latin America Dynamics CRM lead, Jerry Jones, told BNamericas.

"Almost every commercial company has that [sales force automation] requirement," he said. "Whether they're big or small, they will typically implement some form of the sales force automation tool."

Traditional customer service features also represent a main attraction for companies of all sizes.

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The executive made his remarks as Microsoft launched its online Dynamics CRM 2011 solution, which was officially rolled out on Monday (Jan 17) in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago. The on-premise version will be made available next month.

The new software incorporated more than 500 new features, but Microsoft's Latin America VP for sales, marketing and services, Cesar Cernuda, underscored upgrades in terms of integration with related Microsoft products such as Outlook and Office, real-time dashboards and data displays, and the harnessing of information from social networks.

End-user familiarity with CRM solutions represents one of the most significant stumbling blocks in Latin American implementations, and also one of Microsoft's biggest CRM R&D focuses, according to the executive.

"A big part of our R&D... goes toward the familiar-to-use experience," Cernuda told BNamericas.

More than 250 companies are already running Dynamics CRM 2011, and the solution is seen racking up double-digit revenue growth in Latin America during the next 12 months, Cernuda said.

Adoption by companies such as Latin America's large financial organizations and call centers will fuel increases that will also outpace overall CRM market growth forecasted by international tech consultancy IDC.

Meanwhile, on-demand Dynamics CRM 2011 adoption will trend closely with IDC's projections, which see 30% of Latin America's overall CRM implementations coming from the cloud by 2014.

"Latin America has been one of the fastest-growing regions during the last three years with Dynamics CRM," Cernuda said. "We are growing above market... and I'm not expecting anything other than that for the years to come."

Jones added that companies currently eyeing the solution include a smorgasbord of existing Microsoft clients and first-time prospects.

Existing Dynamics CRM clients include Ecuador's Banco de Guayaquil, Argentina's BBVA Banco Frances (NYSE: BFR) and Mexico's Monterrey municipal government.

Microsoft's net earnings rose 51% year-over-year to US$5.41bn during the fiscal first quarter 2011, ended September 30. Revenues during the same period increased 25% to US$16.2bn.