Dynamics CRM 2011 release candidate out

Microsoft on Tuesday announced the availability of the release candidate (RC) version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

This final test version of Microsoft's customer relationship management software can be accessed at the Microsoft Download Center, or via links provided in Microsoft's announcement. The release candidate succeeds the beta version that Microsoft unveiled in September.

New features described in the beta version include Office-like user interface improvements, along with better integration with SharePoint and Dynamics AX. Microsoft's partners got some inducements through an integrated Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, which lets CRM users find add-on development support offered by partners from within Dynamics CRM 2011. No new features were described for the RC version in Microsoft's announcement.

Those already testing the beta can download the RC and simply upgrade the beta, according to Microsoft. That upgrade, in turn, can be used to move to the "release-to-manufacturing" version of Dynamics CRM 2011, when it's released. Microsoft expects this final product release to happen sometime in the first quarter of 2011.

Microsoft also offers a hosted version called "Dynamics CRM Online" beta, which is software delivered as a service via Microsoft's servers or its hosting partners' servers. Microsoft expects to roll out the new Dynamics CRM Online service in its release-to-Web final form sometime in January 2011. Users currently testing the beta service will be prompted to see if they'd like to upgrade to this production version at that time.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced Dynamics CRM Online promotional pricing of $34 per user per month for the first year of service, offering it only to new customers. The current price is $44 per user per month, according to this Microsoft description. The promo offer will extend from time of service launch until June 30, 2011. There's also a separate cash incentive offer for those switching from Oracle or Salesforce.com CRM.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is the online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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