Have you heard of Project Elixir? It received a bit of press
about a year ago, and is once again gaining some attention.
Project Elixir is an internal Microsoft initiative to
integrate critical customer data within Outlook. It uses
Web services to enable the Microsoft sales force to
access customer data that has normally been stored elsewhere,
such as in the company’s CRM.
Microsoft is now releasing a case study and some code so that
you can get a more in-depth view of what they have done. Their
project uses Microsoft Office and Outlook. Using Outlook, their
sales people are able to interface to the data that they need.
Specifically, they can get to data within their CRM, customer
support system (CSS), sales history, and marketing databases.
Using Outlook to access Web Services, the sales force has
access to all of this data in a structured, organized manner.
Microsoft has turned this project into a case study and has
made sample code available. If you are looking for ways to
provide access to the information in your CRM or other systems
to a distributed work force, then this case study may be of
Of course, it is in Microsoft’s best interest to get you to
try this out. Many people regularly use Office and Outlook. If
you start building application interfaces that take advantage
of these, then you might end up with end-users that are more
productive because they are already familiar with aspects of your
interfaces. Of course, you might end up with a reason for people
to continue to use Microsoft Office as well….
For more on this, you can check out the items Microsoft has
posted on MSDN:
Outlook Customization for Integrating with Enterprise Applications
- Extending Enterprise Applications with Microsoft Outlook:
Architectural Design Guide
- Synchronizing a Local Data Store with Microsoft Outlook
- CRM Integration Sample for Outlook Source Setup
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