Microsoft is tackling the customer relationship management (CRM) in the cloud market head-on and is committed to take its channel partners along for the ride with the release of the vendor’s Dynamics CRM online 2011 offering.
While considered a late bloomer in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM space, Microsoft is confident the new enhancements for Dynamics CRM online 2011 – over 500 of them – will give them a good chance of eating into the marketshare of more established players.
Microsoft estimates the CRM business in Australia will be worth $129 million this year.
Dynamics CRM online, which is being sold as a pay-as-you-go offer, can be used in a public or private cloud environment. Allowing customers to seamlessly transfer from a public cloud model to an in-house use set-up has been touted as one of the main market differentiators for the product. The vendor is also particularly proud the software is hosted in Microsoft-owned datacentres which guarantees 99.9 per cent uptime.
In a bid to topple the competition, Microsoft is offering a cashback offer of $249 per user that switches over from Salesforce.com and Oracle CRM platforms to Dynamic CRM online. The offer is only open to companies with 15-250 users and participants are subjected to a two year licencing agreement.
Those that sign on before June 30 received a promotional price for Dynamic CRM online as well.
The channel is also receiving perks from the CRM launch. Partners that have demonstrated competency and knowledge around Dynamic CRM earn rebates for the customers they bring to the service.
Partners receive double the margin for the product until June 30.
According to Microsoft, the objective is to aid partners in transitioning from an on-premise business into a cloud environment.
“This is something a lot of our channel partners struggle,” Microsoft lead product manager for Dynamics business group, Ross Dembecki, said. “With the promotion, they will still get a healthy margin for the introductory period, customers get a good price and rebates; it’s a win-win situation.”
With Dynamics tightly integrated with a number of Microsoft product sets, the vendor saw the new release as an opportunity for the channel to cross sell Microsoft offerings including SharePoint and Office 365, both of which are hosted in the cloud as well.
“We have a very strong reputation as a channel friendly company and we have every intention of taking the channel along with us because, frankly, they are the ones that service our customers,” Microsoft Dynamics CRM senior product manager, Jon Farmer, said.