Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online vs On-Premise. What option is best suited for you?

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SO, you’ve decided to jump into the digital world of customer relations management (CRM) and you are torn between purchasing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online or On-Premise...

There are some great features within each version, as well as some limitations. Let’s look at some of the standard features and compare the two.

First, with regards to security you will have access control of your on premise solution via the old standard ADFS (AD authentication/claims-based authentication), while CRM online can be accessed via Windows Live ID.    The choice here comes down to how you like to handle security and access to your solution.

Next, and in some organizations, most important is the backup and restore process.  With on premise you have the flexibility of point in time restores (depending on your backup solutions).  CRM online does not have this capability, as you will need to go through Microsoft support to have restores completed; which would be the most resent nightly backup.  Here you have to choice how much control you have over your backups and possible restore cases.

Customization is a major part of CRM and with on premise you are allowed unlimited custom workflows and entities.  With the CRM online there is a limit of 200 workflows and 300 entities; which is still a very ample amount, as very few organizations would ever come close to those numbers in the real world.  This may not really be an issue for most organizations, as the limitations of the online version may never really come into play.

Data storage is another area to consider, as the on premise version is only restricted by your own available storage limits.  Online there are two models 5GB for the Basic and 20GB for the Professional Plus; but both do allow for additional storage at a cost option.  Again, as with the backups discussed earlier, this comes down to where you’d like your data stored and how much of it you may have.

For all you SQL gurus out there, online does not allow direct access to SQL data; while on premise does.  This will limit your development of custom reports to the use of FetchXML for online, while you can use either FetchXML or direct SQL access for on premise.  This could be somewhat of an issue, if you have a development staff versed in SQL, there will be a slight learning process for switching over to FetchXML.

Sticking with development, on premise allows for custom developed plug-ins.  Online allows for this as well, but with limitations.  Plug-ins are sandboxed with limited permissions and can only make requests to same CRM tenant or to external web services.  Here again, this really comes down to how much customization you intend or foresee happening via plug-ins.

All though these are not all the features available by either version (on premise or online), they are some of the main ones and in most cases tend to be the key ones, when determining whether to go online or on premise.  For further information or to demo CRM visit our website to learn more.

For more tips and CRM related information please visit the blog on our website. OTT, Inc., is a Microsoft Dynamics Gold Certified Partner and member of Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club for 2012 and Accounting Today’s Top Var 100 list for 2012.

Blog written by Allen Reinke, Solution Developer, OTT, Inc.


1 thought on “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online vs On-Premise. What option is best suited for you?”

  1. If you are interested in this topic, then you might want to look at my myth busters and Design for Online posts too:

    The content could use a refresh given some advances in CRM/CRMOL since I wrote it, but all of it is still applicable.

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