Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 vs. Why Microsoft is the better investment

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With the advent of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 right around the corner, the choice between and Microsoft Dynamics CRM just got a lot easier.  If you are a business that utilizes Microsoft Office applications, including Microsoft Outlook, choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 over makes a lot of sense.

Here are the key differentiators that make us feel Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the better investment:

1)      Office Experience

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a true Microsoft Outlook application, not just a plugin
  • SFDC is repealing Outlook features; for example, users can’t manage opportunities and leads anymore
  • SFDC Outlook plugin can be a point of failure.  This is true of any CRM vendor doing integration with Microsoft Office, Microsoft will always be one step ahead on this front. 

2)      Dashboards

  • CRM 2011 inherits security and data privileges…SFDC does not
  • CRM 2011 allows charts, lists, iFrames to be displayed…SFDC only reports
  • CRM 2011 data is real time…SFDC has a lag of 30-60 minutes
  • CRM 2011 allows for unlimited data refreshes.  SFDC limits refreshes

3)      Inline Analytics

  • CRM 2011 offers Inline Analytics...SFDC does not have a parallel offering
  • SFDC users must leave their task or process…open reports or dashboards..and hope that they don’t get distracted

4)      One-Click Drill Down

  • CRM 2011 offers One-Click drill down…SFDC does not have a parallel offering
  • SFDC users can click on a static image of a chart to pull up the full report.  From the full report they can drill down…much less clicks with CRM 2011

5)      User Interface Customizations

  • CRM 2011 offers a new drag and drop capability for end users that is so easy
  • SFDC offers UI personalization…but users can’t revert changes
  • SFDC personalization features are for power users and administrators only

6)      Value Matters

  • CRM 2011 Online - $44/user/mo. – one version.  A promotional introductory price of $34/user/mo. was recently announced and will be available through June 30 2011.
  • SFDC Professional - $65/user/mo.
  • SFDC Enterprise - $125/user/mo.
  • SFDC Unlimited - $250/user/mo.

7)      Hidden Costs – aka, the SFDC Tax

  • CRM 2011 Online - $44/user/mo. – one version, one price.  Includes 5 GB data storage, mobile client, web portal accelerator that you can customize, knowledgebase, and document management options (simple - out of the box, robust - out of the box SharePoint 2010 integration (SharePoint purchased separately)
  • SFDC – Data Storage (5GB) - $1,000/year.  Professional / Enterprise provide 20 MB of data and 600 MB of file storage/user.
  • SFDC – Mobile $/user/mo.
  • SFDC - Knowledge Base - $/user/mo.
  • SFDC - Customer Portal - $/user/mo.
  • SFDC - Partner Portal - $/user/mo.
  • SFDC – SLA – Not Available.  CRM 2011 has a 99.9% uptime, financially backed SLA.

Need to decrease the number of users?  SFDC does not allow the number of user subscriptions purchased to be decreased during the subscription term.

AbleBridge is one of the few Microsoft Partners that was invited to Microsoft’s “Community Technical Preview” program a little over a year ago.  We’ve been working with and testing CRM 2011 for quite some time now and have anxiously waited for its general availability.  CRM 2011’s release is going to be a game changer in the CRM market and Microsoft did a fantastic job with CRM 2011.  More importantly, Microsoft’s strategic roadmap for CRM (beyond 2011) just proves their long term commitment and vision to be the leader in the CRM marketplace – on-premise and ‘in the cloud’, and it’s clearly the “power of choice” for anyone considering a new CRM system or replacing their existing CRM system.

26 thoughts on “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 vs. Why Microsoft is the better investment”

    1. Thank you for your opinion. Definitely a debate for the ages. Microsoft has a lot more to offer with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (CRM) Office 365, PowerBI, LinkedIn, SharePoint, and more. Salesforce has CRM covered, but so does Microsoft...and then some. More value for less money is a better investment.

  1. Ifrom a business prospective, salesforce is one of the most revolutionary products I have ever seen. It allows the customer to manage its business with very little iIT intervention. It allows to change processes in a very fast manner, it is flexible, it is adaptable. It allows us to make more money. CRM does not compare.

  2. 1.)I have environment in which CRM,SQL and sql server reporting services are running on three different server.Fourth server is having AD with 4 trusted domain.Will ifd implementation is suited for the environment or not.If yes,will ifd work with trusted domain to authenticate users.
    2.)I have installed CRM with domain administrative rights and not with local admin rights.Now can I install and configure adfs 2.0 on crm server with local admin rights and configure claim based authentication and ifd with local admin rights.
    3.)I don’t have much understanding about certificates,can wild card certificate has some boundation regarding countries (i.e if bought in india then can not be used in usa).
    4.) Does ADFS 2.0 installation for IFD has some impact on AD server(i.e trusted domain)
    5)For mmc entries,does I need to add certificate in personal or trusted root or both.For private keys I have to allow network services for both personal and trusted or only trusted.
    Reply from your side will be appreciated!!!!
    Thanks in advance!!

  3. It's a nice article and for a long time i was really looking for an article which can do the comparison between Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. No doubt both the companies has some advantages and disadvantages in their offering. So, a company while going for any CRM Software
    Solution must choose that module/application which best suit their requirement/need.

  4. "...... replacement to Salesforce as it lacked the ability to share contacts with multiple owners without making a complete custom module....."

    This is perfectly possible, without any custom development.

  5. As a technical owner for both MS CRM and SFDC, hands down - and I mean HANDS DOWN. Salesforce has a much more compelling story to tell for usage, adoption, integration, and administration.

    MS CRM is JUST...NOT...GOOD.

  6. As a person who uses both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I can without a doubt say that Salesforce is a much better product. It is well thought out and things that are simple to do in Salesforce become cumbersome with having to do workarounds and custom programming in Microsoft CRM 2011.

    Example #1 - Multi pick list fields aren't a standard option in CRM 2011. You have to create a javascript for this to work and it is an unsupported customization so Microsoft won't help you with it.

    Example #2 - HTML e-mail templates are close to impossible to create in CRM 2011. You have to do this weird hack of copying the display view of your HTML and pasting it in to CRM. A lot of times this hasn't even worked.

    Example #3 - E-Mails can't be sent unless the person who is sending the e-mails has Outlook open. This makes it impossible to use workflows that send e-mail alerts. Unless you purchase a server to host the E-Mail Router (an extra cost).

  7. That is true that SFDC is an emerging and good doing product, but must I say that MS Dynamics will take all the small scale CRM at blow and will definitely emerge as winner ..sooner or later...

  8. We have been using Salesforce since 2007. Two features not mentioned here in CRM2011 are: email merge, and mass email. Does CRM2011 have, or will it have, this available?

    This is the one feature that saleforce has that keeps us hooked.

    As a small business, Saleforce has us limited to a crippled version. Everytime we want to do more with Salesforce, we are told we must upgarade increasing our cost by 1000%. This is the one feature that saleforce has that cuases us to keep an eye out for a better solution that can grow with us.

  9. At the end of the day in this cost cutting enviroment whoever can produce a cost effective solution that 1. works and is up and running fast , 2. is easy to understand and use and 3. gets the job done, wins in my opinion. All the rest is frills and spills. I hate paying for frills and spills.

    I'm all for MS because it meets all my criteria and I would recommend this to my company.

  10. The only pricing comparison I've seen is against's native CRM application, but doesn't compare's ISV pricing. If you want to build your own app on (not using the CRM base objects), pricing is only $15/month/user, or almost 3X less than the one-price only that MS seems to be offering. Does MS have anything similar for ISVs?

  11. This website/blog is clearly a poor attempt to discredit SFDC through a biased and probably paid source. You need to re-think your authenticity. This is just pathetic.

    1. That is an ignorant comment. Most or none of the above folks have even used CRM2011. This is a Microsoft CRM blog as it states just below the title, so if you don't like it, go to a Salesforce blog and rant over there!

  12. Microsoft is gunning into the air for nothing. First and foremost thing is MS Dynamic CRM is not targetted towards any specific domain. The MS Dynamic CRM wont hurt any product significantly. The reason is very simple, it is a core CRM product and not focussed on specific areas. For example products like or are specially created taking into consideration Association Management, is created for Sales Force Automation apart from core CRM features. Apart from that MS Dynamic CRM is not very flexibile when it comes to customizations. Where as all the above mentioned products like or provide huge potential for customers to customize the product as per their wish without involving many technicians. Just by reducing price huge customerbase could not be achieved. Also the established products like could not be targetted.

    1. I am not sure how you figure that CRM is not customizable. We have been using CRM since version 1.2 and have greatly customized our implementation. CRM 2011 furthers the ability to draw mappings, business procedures, security and custom windows per user group far beyond our current version. I can only imagine the customizations we will/can do once the on-premise version comes out later this year.

      If you think that the ability to customize is lacking please give me examples of what you can do with the above mentioned porducts you don't believe is capable with CRM 2011?

  13. I've been using ZohoCRM for over two years; does all the 'stuff' SFDC offers and costs $15.00/mnth/user (includes the e-mail intergration with ZohoMail). Why would I (or anyone for that matter) even consider paying $42/mnth? Especially a larger firm with 20, 30, 100 employees! Fess up, folks, MS is fantastic at following everyone else's lead with a mediocre "me too" product.

  14. One of my Client company's is looking for a replacement to Salesforce as it lacked the ability to share contacts with multiple owners without making a complete custom module. For the company of approximately 20 employees it does not seem worth the time and resources. We hope Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a better option and will possibly look to get this in the new year. This article is a bit one sided though, basically saying Microsoft rocks SFDC sucks.

  15. Sounds like there are a lot of current SFDC users that are happy with their current product and support but haven't seen Dynamics CRM 2011 yet. You will be very surprised at the capabilities and flexibility built-into Microsoft's (MS) latest CRM version.

    I have used both systems and while MS got into the market well after SFDC they have come a very long way in a short period of time...their commitment to CRM is obvious to those who take the time to look and compare. SFDC should be concerned about losing marketshare to this significant player in thier backyard.

  16. We are a Microsoft partner so clearly coming at this from one side of the debate and wanted to be open about that.

    However we do have real customers here in the UK that saved around 50% on their CRM hosting costs by switching from SalesForce so I suggest there is some genuine merit in the points made - it's not just "marketing".

  17. I agree, choosing Microsoft CRM is for no-brainers.

    1)You're using false arguments in your comparison, in practically every bullet.
    2)Even worse: you should have added a three times longer list with key differentiators why SFDC is a much better, more scalable and cheaper solution.

    Maybe next time compare systems that you actually have full knowledge of.

  18. Hello Ryan,

    Thanks for an interesting post, I have been looking for a compare/contrast article for a little while. As a customer and fan I disagree with some of your points.

    - I firmly believe technology comes after people and process. You mention many technical items but none around ease of customer adoption and ability to rapidly implement technology to enable business process. provides an awful lot of support material in multiple formats and is one of the easiest systems to use that I have come across - unlike some of the traditional vendor systems that I have managed in the past. How does MS Dynamics compare?

    - Not everyone wants to be tied to a desktop or the "office experience". You don't mention the cost of Microsoft office/Outlook licences required to create that experience. I use Google apps which at £33/user/year is highly effective (docs, spreadsheet etc are quite basic but how how functionality do 99% of users really use?) and integrates natively with Salesforce.

    - You don't mention time to customise, time to develop apps or any associated costs. Having coded in many languages (VB,, Java, Lotus, Apex etc etc) and on many platforms I find a breeze. Unlike past experiences I can deliver very rich applications in a matter of days. For that reason I personally don't think you can just do a licence vs licence cost comparison and I believe the true cost of the MS platform will be a lot higher if you factored these elements in.

    - What is Microsoft's strategy going forward? Will they invest more in Xbox Live, Hotmail or Dynamics? The point here is just exactly how committed are Microsoft to the market? are at the forefront of promoting the cloud movement with a whole company focused on it. How many people are in the MS Dynamics team?

    I hope you don't take these comments the wrong way, just thought I'd spark a debate 🙂


  19. Hi Ryan, I'm as excited about CRM 2011 Online as the next MVP, but let's not get carried away when doing a price comparison.

    CRM Online at $44/user/month has a limit on data storage (5GB same as SFDC), doesn't include customer or partner portals (build your own), doesn't include document management (buy SharePoint) and although Mobile Express is included, it doesn't meet many customers' simple expectations (e.g. can't create an activity record using Mobile Express) so they have to buy a third-party mobile add-on.

    I think that CRM Online is much better value than, but I'm pretty sure prospective customers would prefer us to get our facts straight so that CRM Online can stand out on its merits.

  20. Who wrote this? a Microsoft employee?

    If you compare 2 products you need to compare them all the way.

    what about features like record types, data security, multiple page layouts (even per profile/record type combination), filtering of picklists per record type, complete custom pages, generate websites, customer portal, partner portal, TPI integration, territory management, sharing rules, dated exchange rates, web2lead, much better controle over data in outlook, mobile apps, offline app, app exchange, free sandboxes and last but not least support of other browsers than internet explorer. These are just a few that came to my mind.

    Seems to me that MS CRM is a nice product for small businesses but you will run into problems when it gets a little more complex...

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