Today, Microsoft threw open the doors on its long awaited “Salesforce.com killer” hosted CRM offering, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online:
Microsoft Corp. today announced the general availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, an on-demand customer relationship management service hosted and managed by Microsoft. The new Internet service delivers a full suite of marketing, sales and service capabilities through a Web browser or directly into Microsoft Office and Outlook.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is initially packaged in two service offerings:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional delivers a full suite of CRM capabilities with extensive configurability and extensibility options. Businesses get 5 GB of data storage, 100 configurable workflows and 100 custom entities. The Professional edition is priced at $44 per user per month, with an introductory offer of $39 per user, per month.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional Plus delivers all the capabilities of the Professional version plus offline data synchronization with expanded data storage, workflow and customization options that give businesses 20 GB of data storage, 200 configurable workflows and 200 custom entities. The Professional Plus edition is priced at $59 per user per month.
More than 500 customers and 200 partners have used Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online over the past six months via the Microsoft Early Access Program.
Until recently this product was “Dynamics Live CRM”, but it’s still basically what was announced last July with some name changes. Head to head comparison of features and reliability remain to be determined, but Microsoft is undercutting Salesforce on price.
Back in October, 2007 Microsoft established a new branding policy for its online offerings and in keeping with that has announced that henceforth its hosted CRM Live application would henceforth be named CRM Online. No changes in the expected 2Q2008 general availability – just a name change from Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
The distinction is that hosted versions of Microsoft’s ordinary server software applications are now supposed to get the “Online” moniker while real Web applications for individuals and small businesses get the “Live” appellation. In the first rush of Microsoft’s “Live” enthusiasm, the hosted version of CRM ended up being named “CRM Live” and this was merely a realignment.
Hitting another end of year milestone Microsoft today announced the RTM of two flavors of Microsoft Dynamics CRM:
The new version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, formerly code-named “Titan,” has been completed and released to manufacturing, Microsoft Corp. announced today. The new version is offered under two product names: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for on-premise and partner-hosted deployments and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live for Microsoft-hosted deployment. Designed with a single unified-code base for both on-premise and on-demand deployments, Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables customers to choose the right deployment model for their specific business and IT needs, with the flexibility to change deployment models over time if their needs or preferences change.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 will be available worldwide in more than 25 languages. The English language pack will be available within the next seven days to new and existing partners and customers. Nine additional language packs will be available in January and the remaining language packs will be delivered at a rate of four or more each month.
The new Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM service is offered only in the United States and Canada, and is currently available to a limited number of customers via the Early Access program.
Despite the RTM, the hosted CRM Live offering seems to be in the same twilight state it was in July, but that will be cold comfort for the Microsoft partners who bought into hosting Dynamics CRM 3.0 for customers, only to have Microsoft blow them out of the water with their own hosting service.
Microsoft has a fundamental problem competing with the online office application offerings like Google Docs in that they want to avoid cannibalizing their considerable Microsoft Office revenues. Therefore they have to try to emulate the desirable features of the online offerings while still requiring that the users have a fully paid up copy of Microsoft Office. That’s just what they did today when they announced “Microsoft Office Live Workspace, a new Web-based feature of Microsoft Office that lets people access their documents online and share their work with others.”