Microsoft’s “Cloud CRM for Less” - A Great Time to Switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

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An Interview with Bill Patterson, Director of Product Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for the Microsoft Business Solutions group.

As a top blogger on the CRM Software Blog, AbleBridge was invited to do an exclusive interview with Microsoft executive, Bill Patterson.  Bill Patterson is responsible for worldwide product planning and product marketing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.   AbleBridge, a Massachusetts based Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner,  conducted a 30 minute phone interview with Bill to get his perspective on this exciting new offer called “Cloud CRM for Less”.  The offer was introduced on December 6th through an Open Letter from Michael Park, corporate vice president of sales, marketing, and operations for Microsoft Business Solutions.

[AbleBridge]  The “Cloud CRM For Less” offer, combined with Microsoft’s next major CRM release (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011) right around the corner seems to be a perfect time for or Oracle CRM customers to switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.  Can you give us a quick overview of the offer?

[Bill Patterson]  This offer is targeted to existing (Professional, Enterprise, or Unlimited Editions) or Oracle (Siebel CRM or CRM On Demand) CRM customers who want to switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.  These customers will receive $200 cash for each user they license.  If they switch 100 users, they’ll receive a check for $20,000.  It’s a very compelling offer.  The $200/user rebate will go a long way in helping these companies offset extraneous cancellation fees, or costs to port customizations and migrate their existing SFDC or Oracle CRM data to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

[AbleBridge] It’s not always easy to switch CRM systems, but the “CRM Cloud For Less” offer seems to be a win-win for these SFDC or Oracle customers.  How significant are the short term and long term savings? 

[Bill Patterson]  In the short term, it mitigates the costs associated with changing CRM systems while getting them onto a more cost-effective CRM solution over the long term.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online compares to the SFDC Enterprise edition which sells for $125 per user, per month.  The price for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011 will be $34 per user, per month and will launch after the new calendar year.  Companies will save $90 per user, per month coming off that offering.  These long term savings are significant, especially in this economy.

[AbleBridge] Are there certain restrictions with how customers can apply the rebate? 

[Bill Patterson]  No.  Customers will receive a check and can use the cash however they see fit.

[AbleBridge] SFDC had a large influence on businesses accepting the idea of deploying CRM in the Cloud.  Is this offer an indication that Microsoft’s CRM focus is transitioning from the traditional on-premise license model to the ‘in the cloud’ model? 

[Bill Patterson] What we see is that in this economy people are looking for fast time to value. There is a lot of excitement around what Microsoft is doing with all our cloud assets across the company. Our long-term strategy is to offer choice for customers.  Some analysts predict 45% of companies will eventually consume business software in the cloud which still leaves 55% of the market that doesn’t go to the cloud.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers customers the choice to deploy in the cloud, where someone else manages the IT infrastructure, or on-premise where the customer manages their own IT infrastructure.  This is a key differentiator for Microsoft and we’re one of the few vendors that provide a choice.

[AbleBridge] We are seeing a huge uptick in the number of companies starting to embrace cloud computing and Microsoft seems to be taking a leadership role in this area.  Would this be another compelling reason for SFDC or Oracle customers to embrace Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online as they can also take advantage of Microsoft’s other integrated, cloud business offerings like Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, etc?

[Bill Patterson] Microsoft delivers a holistic business productivity approach.  The cloud provides agility for an organization and this is especially important with today’s ever changing business needs.  It also results in lots of productivity gains as maintenance and overhead get reduced.  By no means does it take away any degree of management of running a business applications, it just shifts the focus.  Companies will focus on synergies with analytics and business process management rather than worrying about the IT management aspect of the application.

[AbleBridge]  Bill, it’s great to hear your perspective on cloud computing and this great offer.  We really appreciate the time you took to answer our questions.

[Bill Patterson] You’re welcome.  I would also like to get AbleBridge’s perspective on the “CRM Cloud for Less” offer and any other feedback you might have.

[AbleBridge] As a Microsoft Partner focused on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we compete regularly with and have for several years.  This offer, combined with the powerful new features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online makes this a perfect time for or Oracle CRM customers to make a switch.  Aside from the offer, the ongoing $34 per user, per month subscription cost is an unbelievable value for our customers.  Our experience implementing CRM solutions goes back to 1998 and we have witnessed quite an evolution of CRM technology over the years.  It’s exciting to see cloud computing become more mainstream.  A lot of our customers don’t have the IT infrastructure or desire to manage the technical responsibilities of managing their CRM system in-house.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online provides them with a robust, cost-effective, and scalable CRM solution.    

 About AbleBridge

AbleBridge is a Massachusetts (MA) based Microsoft Gold Partner focused on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  AbleBridge has been successfully implementing CRM technology dating back to the inception of Contact Management applications through the evolution of Sales Force Automation and ultimately Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.  AbleBridge is 100% focused on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and our involvement dates back to the first beta release in 2002. AbleBridge is uniquely comprised of seasoned Business Consultants and Technical Software Architects; all experienced and focused on CRM implementation success.  We are equally proficient in providing sales, marketing, and business process consulting as we are in developing rich software solutions on Microsoft’s .NET framework technologies.  AbleBridge specializes in providing pre-built Industry Solutions and Add On components that extend the business value and user adoption of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

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