Feeds

Microsoft finally puts date on hosted CRM

Devil's in the lack of detail

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

While details are scarce, you can expect the fog of marketing confusion that presently surrounds Microsoft's current client/server CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to continue, as Microsoft tries to battle a broad number of competitors in different markets. Microsoft keeps wobbling between saying its business applications are for the mid-market and for the enterprise.

Already, Microsoft has said Dynamics CRM will target "small businesses... traditionally underserved by the lack of flexible and cost-effective CRM solutions." However, Microsoft was also quoted saying Dynamics CRM will appeal to government agencies "consternated" by hosted services. Microsoft has promised a "private database" for every customer "not a pooled data model."

While details are apparently still being worked out, you should expect Microsoft to make a strong integration play. Dynamics CRM will tap the same meta-driven configuration tools used by all versions of Microsoft CRM, while integration with Microsoft Office and Outlook will make life easier on partners and customers. You should also expect Project Snap, integration between Dynamics and Office/Outlook, to play a role in the architecture, and for everything to run on the evergreen SQL Server.

A major weakness of hosted services has been lack of integration with software from Siebel, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Oracle. SAP has been at pains to point out its hosted service shares the same architecture as its traditional client/server product.

Salesforce.com has tried to resolve integration in two ways. First, by exposing its metadata and information using web services and Ajax, and - secondly - by encouraging partners to deliver tight fitting applications. Examples of the later, include Informatica and Scribe Software providing software to migrate and synchronize data between Siebel and Salesforce.come and Dynamics and Salesforce.com respectively. Additionally, Salesforce.com is now reaching outside CRM with an OEM version of its service for developers to build new applications capable of integrating customers' data minus the familiar Salesforce.com CRM tabbed interface.

Microsoft has had more than six years to win over the types of customers now flocking to Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Sugar CRM. It has chosen to spend the better part of the last half decade trying to merge its various CRM and ERP offerings on a single code base under Project Green. That project has suffered numerous set backs.

Microsoft's architecture also promises to throw up the scalability issue. Microsoft's decision to "give everyone a database" will mean its service will face an infrastructure hurdle, as Microsoft will essentially try to apply a client/server architecture to an online service. Fans of the Microsoft online service model need only look at the performance and reliability issues that sill hit Hotmail.

One of Salesforce.com's successes has been its use of a large, mission-critical database - Oracle - on scalable hardware. Microsoft's approach promises to be costly, using a lot of Intel-based systems, meaning it is unclear how Microsoft can pass on costs to the price-sensitive customers snapping up Salesforce.com, starting at $995 for five users per year or $65 per user each month. That will be particularly imporant for Microsoft, after Ballmer last year promsied to give Salesforce.com a "run for its money." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit
And at the back of the field, Windows 8.1 is sprinting away from Windows 8
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?