As of date (10/25/2009) – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is available for United States (U.S.) and Canada. Existing and potential customers have asked me about support for other global regions such as China. The quick answer is that it is somewhat supported, however, it isn’t officially supported at this time. Microsoft is planning to support other regions in the future.
Hare are some details on what I mean by somewhat supported:
1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is accessible ANYWHERE in the world – as long as the user has an internet connection, s/he can connect to Microsoft CRM Online. And with the Microsoft CRM Online Professional Plus edition – the user can take advantage of the Offline Synchronization capability without an internet connection.
Note: Latency maybe an issue depending on your geographic location if outside of U.S. or Canada. The only way to check is to test it out via the FREE 30 Day Trial
2. Anyone or any business can subscribe to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online with a valid U.S. or Canada credit card and secure access is immediately available – that is one of the advantages of an On Demand software. If you are interested, check out the FREE 30 Day Trial
3. Multi Language data entries from any global regions are currently supported. It is only the Microsoft CRM Online display messages that are in U.S. English for now – Microsoft is planning to support display messages for other regions in the future.
4. CRM Online server and personal level display format for number, currency, time and date CAN be set for different global regions such as Chinese (People’s Republic of China), Indonesian (Indonesia), German (Germany), etc.
5. As with most modern On Demand software – Microsoft CRM Online supports UNICODE – which means it can store data entries from any language region. CRM Online can store, display, search, etc. on any mix or match language data entries. That is the power of UNICODE support. For example – if we have a U.S. based company with regional offices in the city of San Francisco, Seoul, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangalore, London, Paris, and Brasilia – we can track all the contacts and companies information from all those regions in their native language
More technical details:
1. The main challenge with mix languages support is with data display ordering/sorting. The way Microsoft CRM controls this is via their SQL Collation setting. The SQL Collation used on CRM Online is SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS – case-insensitive, accent-sensitive, kanatype-insensitive, width-insensitive for Unicode Data. Check the following link for more information on SQL Server Collation and Unicode Support: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143503(SQL.105).aspx
Note: Display sorting doesn’t impact searching. CRM Online can search and find any of its data entries from any global region
2. The SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS SQL Collation is the standard default for most U.S and Canada users. This SQL Collation sorts non-English characters based on their Unicode value (hexadecimal). For example the Unicode for letter "A" is "0041" and the Unicode for "上" is "4E0A". Check the following link for more information on Unicode value: http://www.unicode.org/charts/
3. The common issue I’d encountered is that some users can’t see the East Asian data in their CRM Online program – only seeing squares. The resolution is to enable the East Asian languages setting in Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. This is can done via (on XP) Windows’s Control Panel >> Regional and Language Options >> Languages tab:
I would like to thank Matt Cooper at Microsoft for his good feedback on this article.