Microsoft has been very aggressive and very successful in capturing market share in the SaaS (Software as a Service) CRM market through their Dynamics CRM Online product offering.
Dynamics CRM Online features all of the same great visual customization and extension tools as the On- Premise and Partner Hosted versions. However, Dynamics CRM online has had a limitation; clients and partners could not upload custom code to the deployment servers. This limitation manifested itself in primarily three ways:
- Complex Reporting – Dynamics CRM Online includes the Report Wizard for creating custom reports with charts and the ability to easily export data to Excel for reporting. More complex reporting might require a custom report to be written in SQL Server Reporting Services or another reporting tool. These custom reports could not be uploaded to the Dynamics CRM Online deployment.
- Third Party Add-On Components – There are many great third party add-on components for Microsoft Dynamics CRM that have been developed by the vast Microsoft Partner ecosystem to meet specific horizontal and vertical requirements. Since these add-ons normally involve server-side code, they could not be installed to a Dynamics CRM Online deployment.
- Custom Developed Code – Microsoft Dynamics CRM also provides very extensive customization and extension capabilities via its SDK (software development kit). Partners and customers can use this SDK to enhance and extend the core Dynamics CRM functionality to meet specific requirements. This custom server-side code could not be uploaded to a Dynamics CRM Online deployment.
All of that is about to change. Microsoft recently announced support for uploading custom code to Dynamics CRM Online deployments. This major enhancement (along with other enhancements included in the Dynamics CRM 2011 wave) will be rolled out to Dynamics CRM Online customers via regular service updates beginning in September 2010.
Along with the roll out will be the introduction of the Dynamics CRM Marketplace which will allow customers to quickly purchase and deploy Microsoft and third-party add-on enhancements to their Dynamics CRM Online deployment. You can read more about the 2011 Dynamics CRM roll out in this press release,
With this announcement, Microsoft has taken another giant step forward in providing the best CRM product on the market, delivered in a SaaS deployment model, with flexibility to move to an on-premise or partner-hosted model at any time.
By: Randy Bristol, NexusTek, Inc.