The SharePoint conference is over and still new releases are coming fast and furious. The latest is from Microsoft ISV Crow Canyon, which works with Outlook, Exchange and SharePoint, and has added a couple of releases that will effectively turn SharePoint into a CRM system.

OK, so maybe not a full CRM in the way we normally understand it, but an application built on top of SharePoint that uses SharePoint functionality to back up the native functionality of Crow’s CCS Customer Service Management (CSM) 2.0.

CSM for SharePoint

CCS' CSM for SharePoint v2.0 is a team-based contact management solution that provides customer and contact management that is customizable by business users without ever having to do any code.

Available as individual applications or as a suite of applications, it can cover the customer process from lead to after sales, and uses SharePoint to do that is such a way as to legitimize its claim to be, in fact, a CRM, when, it is, in fact, a customer contact solution.

This might be splitting hairs a bit, except that it’s SharePoint 2010 we’re talking about here, and any solution built on top of that can pretty much call itself anything it wants.

With it, all information -- including accounts contacts, opportunities and leads -- are consolidated into SharePoint and all the other functionality of SharePoint, such as document management or email management, is linked to the information about clients that is already stored in SharePoint.

And because it is built in standard SharePoint, it can be integrated with other applications such as customer service or project management. So you can see where the CRM part comes in.

The other part of this that is interesting is a service desk that allows organizations to track and manage customer service requests from multiple sources including email, web, text, and phone.

Tickets can be routed and assigned, notification/alerts sent and service levels measured. It also ties in nicely with the upgraded CCS Service Request 2.1, also for SharePoint.

CCS Service Request v2.1

CCS Service Request v2.1 is a service desk platform that enables companies to track and manage service requests across the organization, and out-of-the-box has a list of templates that makes it applicable to just about any department in the enterprise.

The new release adds over 15 features that extend SharePoint to support business processes, and of course, as some of those processes are also related to customer tracking, this upgrade fits in nicely with the upgraded contact management system.

Developed both internally and with embedded web parts, the new release use SharePoint architecture to deliver new features including:

  • My Services Workspace for employees: A SharePoint workspace where employees can request any service and review outstanding request status
  • Service Desk for each department: Each department has its own service desk site to track, assign and manage requests
  • Email Conversion to Tickets and Emails linked to Tickets: Email messages sent to the SharePoint service desk are converted to tickets

In addition, it is customizable and, using standard SharePoint functionality, new fields can be added, forms changed and data views modified, while workspaces and dashboards can be customized to meet specific needs.

Crow says that it has over 100 organizations using these applications, including Federal Reserve, Ricoh and Washington D.C. government, which is not really surprising given how reasonable its pricing is, with the Customer Service Management starting at US$ 1295 for the on-premise version.