So it looks like Microsoft is making some serious waves in the CRM space as it fights with incumbents like Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Oracle. With the purchase of Parature (huge congrats to the Parature team for a great exit), Microsoft CRM is definitely expanding its feature set and functionality to really give the other guys a run for their money. It will be interesting to see how all the different pieces play together and if the sum of all their parts is enough for companies with existing systems to spend the time/money to convert to CRM or for small/medium companies who are growing and using spreadsheets or other free/cheap alternatives to upgrade to CRM instead of one of their competitors. As someone who worked with a lot of companies to implement a support solution, I can say the way to win the war is to make setup as simple as possible, possibly even providing tools that make converting from any system a piece of cake. I can easily say that transferring everything from one system to another was possibly the most painful thing the team had to do. And it’s not a value-add, it doesn’t make anyone’s life easier, it simply is the cost of converting. And when you want companies to convert, you need to make transferring to your services as easy as possible (as well as providing an amazing product). Anyways, I could talk about all the way that a CRM solution could be built to make it the best/easiest and most attractive solution out there, but realistically none of the big guys will listen to me, they have teams of product managers who know best, but I doubt many of them have had to work with 100+ companies to convert/implement/integrate CRM systems….