Microsoft CRM Products - Online

Microsoft CRM Online
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 can also be leased as a hosted service (CRM Online) directly from Microsoft in North America and from Microsoft partners globally. The CRM Online offering allows the company to compete as a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering with the likes of, RightNow, Netsuite, Aplicor and others. CRM Online offers the same features and functions as the on premise solution with the exception of integration and hosting of custom web pages. The hosted model allows you to lease user licenses on a per seat basis per month without any infrastructure costs. There to versions of CRM Online: 1) CRM Online Professional, 2) CRM Online Professional Plus. The primary difference between the two editions is that the Plus edition offers Offline Synchronization. This means that it installs a local copy of SQL Server 2005 on your computer and also downloads a subset of the data that would be otherwise available to you in the online system. This allows you to work with the CRM application in an offline mode and then later synchronize once a connection is reestablished. This is a common feature of some of the better SaaS CRM solutions available and may be relevant if you have a mobile workforce with limited Internet access.

The greatest benefit of the hosted option is that it allows you to quickly setup and use the application with no infrastructure costs. This can often accelerate the time to implement a solution of this kind and can also enable you to deploy it in a phased approach without any regard to how to deploy it physically. With the ubiquity of high speed internet connections and IE browsers, you can access MS CRM Online from nearly anywhere, just as you would with any SaaS based solution. This option can also be used to pilot the system with a few users to validate requirements and design assumptions before you commit to a major investment in a full on premise implementation.

Free: Complete Report – Microsoft CRM Exposed

One thing to be cautious about with the MS CRM Online option is that Microsoft, despite being the giant in the software industry, is a relative newcomer to the SaaS space. For example, since they are starting at near zero, they’ve had to commit to spending over 1 billion dollars on data centers and infrastructure specifically for this product line. While they have the capacity to offer online applications, they may not have the requisite experience to deliver and manage it with the same reliability and sophistication as other SaaS providers have done for many years. While Microsoft is always great at figuring things out over time, providing access to a mission critical CRM application is not the same as having an issue with a Sharepoint site. As has painfully taught many SaaS customers, being associated with a giant in the industry doesn’t necessarily guarantee performance and availability.

Free: Complete Report – Microsoft CRM Exposed

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