Microsoft Plans to Add Dynamics CRM Online to Office 365

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On June 28, Microsoft officially released Office 365. On the heels of the release, Microsoft also announced that Dynamics CRM Online will be added to the Office 365 offering in the second half of 2011. While the details on licensing and pricing are scarce, the benefits are clear.

Before I get into the details, let me take a moment to explain. Office 365 is the new name for the Microsoft service offerings previously known as Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), Live@edu, and Office Live Small Business. The basic Office 365 package is an upgrade to the 2010 versions of Exchange, SharePoint, Office Communications Online, and Live Meeting (note: Office Communications Online and Live meeting have been combined as Lync).

Office 365 is not a new version of Office that will be hosted in/on/via the cloud, but rather a rebranding effort for BPOS. As of now, BPOS is no longer available for purchase. Microsoft Office applications are the core of Office 365. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, and other Office applications connect to Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync.

One of the key advantages to CRM Online being added to the Office 365 suite is the Azure platform. Azure is an operating system for the cloud based on a pay by use model, eliminating the need to buy servers or dedicate resources to infrastructure management. Azure’s automated service management protects businesses from the caveats of hardware failure and routine maintenance. Currently some components of Office 365 are still run on servers in Microsoft’s datacenters and are not Azure based. However, Microsoft has a goal to eventually move Office 365 and all of its components to the Windows Azure cloud platform.

This means that businesses will have the ability to receive updates and upgrades with minimal effort because the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team is focusing efforts on an agile release model approach to efficiently deliver products to users. Previously, major product releases were 2-3 years apart. Now a single codebase across all versions of the product will enable shorter development cycles and the ability to deliver updates and enhancements bi-annually to both on-premises and online customers.

Additionally, as part of ongoing Dynamics development Microsoft promises to meet the demands of new generation devices like smartphones and tablets by providing anytime, anywhere access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, creating consistency across the user experience whether on the road or in the office. Some examples of these capabilities will include intuitive cross-device functionality and multi-browser support.

The inclusion of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in the Office 365 offering will provide greater value for businesses. The fully integrated experience gives workers easy access to familiar solutions that are designed and built to work together which can lead to increased efficiency and more effective collaboration. For more insight on Microsoft’s plans for Dynamics CRM, be sure to read the May 2011 update of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Statement of Direction. If you are looking for a Microsoft Certified Colorado technology partner, contact NexusTek.

 By Natalie Wilcox, NexusTek, Inc., your Denver, Colorado area Microsoft Certified Partner.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft Plans to Add Dynamics CRM Online to Office 365”

  1. Natalie,

    Some statements here are factually wrong:

    "Office 365 is not a new version of Office that will be hosted in/on/via the cloud, but rather a rebranding effort for BPOS."

    That is not true. Office 365 IS A NEW VERSION of BPOS, with many existing components (like SharePoint) updated to use the later versions, and the are many new functionalities. It is not just a rebranding.

    "Microsoft has a goal to eventually move Office 365 and all of its components to the Windows Azure cloud platform"

    Sorry, but total nonsense. MS will NEVER migrate core components of Office365 to Azure (SharePoint, Exchange, Lync - or CRM, if indeed it is being added to Office365). If you've developed in Azure, you'd know the reasons.


    1. Massimo, thank you for the reply. I see how this statement can be misconstrued by my choice of words. “Office 365 is not a new version of Office that will be hosted in/on/via the cloud, but rather a rebranding effort for BPOS.”

      Here are my research sources.

      Office 365 FAQ

      Q. What happens to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite? How do I move to Office 365 from Business Productivity Online Suite?
      A. Office 365 replaces the Business Productivity Online Suite. Enterprise customers can contact a Microsoft sales representative or Microsoft Partner directly for purchase details, or get more information about volume licensing.

      Microsoft Office 365: The Next Generation of Cloud-Hosted Exchange, Sharepoint, Office and Lync
      by Aaron Leskiw - November 9, 2010
      Microsoft describes Office 365 as a “significantly enhanced” version of BPOS. Although it’s basically the same service, as you’ve seen, it includes new features like Office Web Apps. And, it also has enhancements to make administration easier.

      Microsoft preps users for the move to Office 365 cloud platform
      By Mary Jo Foley | May 25, 2011
      "Microsoft execs have said Microsoft is planning to host Office 365 on Azure at some point, but haven’t offered any kind of time frame as to when that might happen."

      What's next for Office 365? CRM Online and Windows Intune
      By Mary Jo Foley | June 28, 2011, 1:53pm PDT
      "In the longer term, Microsoft’s goal remains to move Office 365 and all of its piece parts to its Windows Azure cloud platform. Right now, the portal and commerce pieces of Office 365 are hosted on Azure, but elements like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online run on servers in Microsoft’s datacenters throughout the world, and are not Azure based."

      Q&A Part 2: Microsoft's Tom Rizzo Talks Smack on Online Services
      By Jeffrey Schwartz
      December 28, 2010
      Q. What is the relationship, if any between Office 365 and Windows Azure?
      A. We are working really closely with the Azure team to make sure that Azure and Office 365 connect well together, because we realize that the partners, especially ISVs will want to build apps that run in Azure that they can sell to people running in Office 365.

      A lot of the Azure apps today are Web based because we don't have the Office 365 product out yet, and the BPOS product, while it integrates, there's still a bunch of work you have to do as a partner to integrate the two together. Office 365 will make it more seamless. Productivity applications are probably not the majority of the Azure apps but I think you will see that shift over time as we get Office 365 to the market.

      Office 365: The Butterfly Effect
      Posted Jul 01 2011, 12:00 PM by mtanner
      Office 365 is really just the very tip of a larger Microsoft strategy. The other key trends to watch are Azure Services and Appfabric directions, Microsoft's migration of Office 365 onto the Azure platform, and the integration of Dynamics directly into Office 365. As these combinations unfold, an increasingly powerful and extensible platform for business applications in the cloud starts to emerge.

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