CRM – In My Cloud or Your Cloud?

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It’s no secret that the concept of cloud computing is becoming more and more mainstream for organizations.  CRM “in the cloud” was given a head start with the introduction of as the first major SaaS (Software-As-A-Service) CRM vendor.  It made businesses more accepting of the idea that someone else could be responsible for hosting internal sensitive data and maintaining their CRM application - all for one low monthly subscription fee.  This led the way for a cloud based CRM revolution across many vendors.  As a Microsoft Partner focused on Microsoft Dynamics CRM we see this paradigm shift as just the beginning for businesses to increase their consumption of software services housed “in the cloud”.

But what is “The Cloud”?  The definition has certainly taken on a magical connotation, especially as it relates to CRM systems.  When AbleBridge discusses CRM deployment options with certain prospective customers, deploying CRM in the cloud seems to be the only option they will consider.  After all, the cloud is a magical place so why would they consider anything else? 

Suffice to say, “The Cloud” boils down to where you want to host your CRM application.  It’s a server and the IT infrastructure necessary to support your CRM system.  That’s it in a nutshell.  Do you want to host and manage your CRM system within your four walls, or do you want someone else to host and manage within their four walls?  It isn’t magical and it isn’t new.  “The Cloud” has been around since the advent of the mainframe computer, but it certainly has re-invented itself.  The mainframe it back!

At AbleBridge we deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM in any cloud – Microsoft’s Cloud, the Customer’s Cloud, or a Hosting Provider’s Cloud.  That’s the beauty of Microsoft Dynamics CRM – it’s provides the customer with deployment choices and is just one example of the unique value proposition Microsoft Dynamics CRM has over its CRM competitors.

A good analogy would be staying in an extended stay hotel suite (CRM in someone else’s cloud) or buying a new house (CRM in your cloud).  Clearly, there are costs and benefits in both models – and each customer needs to decide what is best for him.  Do you want to rent a room and have someone else change your sheets, take care of the room maintenance, and always make sure your lights and heat are on – for one low monthly rental fee?  Or do you want to purchase a house, be responsible for cleaning the inside, mowing the lawn, resetting a breaker or calling a plumber if your pipes happen to freeze – for one higher upfront purchase price?

“Homeowners” have the IT capacity to host CRM themselves and wish to capitalize the cost of a one-time higher upfront CRM license purchase vs. paying long-term recurring monthly fees.  “Renters” either don’t have the IT capacity or the desire to host CRM themselves.  The higher long term costs are a trade off for the flexibility of a low upfront CRM investment and the reassurance that someone else will make sure their environment is maintained, clean, and secure.    

At AbleBridge, we’re seeing more organizations wanting to “deploy in the cloud” and feel this trend will continue into the foreseeable future.  The “Hybrid Cloud” is a related concept that we feel will propel cloud computing as the number one CRM deployment option for most enterprises.  A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment in which an organization provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally. 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 will provide more “hybrid cloud” options for customers and AbleBridge sees this being the start to a very exciting time in Microsoft’s cloud based CRM revolution.

by AbleBridge, your Massachusetts Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

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