A recent analyst event hosted by Microsoft gave many opportunities to get a feel for Microsoft's direction on where they intend to take the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product line. While there were no sweeping announcements, the trends point to a supported push in cloud computing and further positive results from Microsoft's partner program.
Despite the event encapsulating the entire Microsoft Dynamics ERP family (AX, NAV, GP, SL), CRM seems to always be the topic of discussion. The reasoning behind this isn't too surprising. CRM is the new hot-ticket item, and it's shaking up the way business is done. We're in the middle of a market transition right now, and the early adopters will have the advantage when the dust settles. Add to this that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 recently released and there's no surprise CRM keeps stealing the show.
But CRM 2011 is bringing more than new features. CRM Online will move Microsoft into the cloud, and while businesses have been hesitant about making that leap, Microsoft is not. They're building up server and hosting infrastructure and fronting all the initial cost, hoping that it will establish them as the best solution when it comes to cloud computing. It's certainly working so far, meaning that should you decide to take the plunge into cloud computing, you can at least know that Microsoft is 100% dedicated to backing you up.
Another surprising trend mentioned at the event was Microsoft's willingness to compete on price. The company is running several promotions to encourage online deployments, with many dipping well below chief competitor Salesforce.com. Microsoft has generally competed in the market by having the best product, and woe betide any company that was unwilling or unable to pay for it. Now, perhaps due to Dynamics' re-branding over the years, Microsoft is willing to play ball when it comes to sticker price. That only means good things for shoppers.
Finally, Microsoft is all abuzz over the successes it has had with its partners. Almost all (and perhaps all) deals are struck through implementation and sales partners, meaning that Microsoft has created a very interesting animal in the market. However, some are confused about the seemingly obtuse classifications in the partners programs. With so many businesses ranked as “gold” partners, some conjecture why a ranking is necessary at all. Just cut everyone the same deal and be done with it.
While it's not the most detailed road map, all the industry buzz points to Microsoft Dynamics CRM gaining more and more steam. With Dynamics CRM 2011 just on the horizon, we'll keep a close eye on where the market heads.
By CRM Software Blog Editors, Find a local Microsoft Dynamics CRM expert