Feeds

Microsoft finally puts date on hosted CRM

Devil's in the lack of detail

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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." ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.