Microsoft Readies Its Cloud CRM Apps For Global Markets


Microsoft is going global with its on-demand CRM application.

Microsoft will make its Dynamics CRM Online software available in 32 markets around the world during the second half of 2010 under a timetable the company unveiled Sunday at its Convergence 2010 conference in Atlanta.

Until now Dynamics CRM Online has been available only in the U.S. and Canada. The service competes head-to-head with cloud-computing CRM applications from Salesforce.com, NetSuite, SAP and Oracle.

"We're seeing tremendous momentum around our Dynamics CRM product," said Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division, in a keynote speech. Sales of Dynamics CRM, online and on-premise combined, grew 40 percent in fiscal 2009, he said.

Dynamics CRM has about 22,000 customers and about 1.1 million users today. More than 1,000 customers subscribe to Dynamics CRM Online, ranging from businesses with five seats to several with 500 or more seats, said Brad Wilson, general manager for the product, in an interview at Convergence. Dynamics CRM Online, which shares the same code base as the on-premise version, has been available for about two years.

Earlier this year Microsoft added Dynamics CRM Online to its list of products that can be sold under an enterprise agreement license. "So we expect to see some healthy growth in our seat-count for CRM Online," Wilson said.

Microsoft also said this week that it's offering its Dynamics GP customers a Dynamics CRM Online subscription for $19 per user per month.

About 4,000 Microsoft channel partners work with Dynamics CRM. Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, sees opportunities to capture customers and channel partners of competing vendors whose CRM products have are difficult to work with. "We're seeing a phenomenal amount of CRM shelfware," he said in a press conference.

Wilson said solution providers who work with Dynamics CRM Online include resellers of the on-premise product who want to add an online component to their offerings, partners who sell other Microsoft products such as Exchange and SharePoint and want to add CRM applications to their product lineup, and startups building new businesses around Software-as-a-Service. Most focus on developing value-added services around the on-demand application.

In the second half of the year Microsoft will make Dynamics CRM Online available in 32 new markets, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

The timetable for availability in specific countries hinges on working out operational issues such as establishing payment and local tax collection processes. Wilson said Microsoft is currently recruiting channel partners in each market to help sell the service.

Microsoft also unveiled the May 2010 service update for Dynamics CRM Online, which offers new development tools for building connections to other on-demand and on-premise applications. It also provides a framework for integrating Dynamics CRM Online with Microsoft's Dynamics GP ERP application set, and new portal accelerators that businesses use to extend CRM functions such as partner relationship management and event management to external constituents.

The new release of Dynamics CRM Online also helps set the stage for its international expansion by providing multi-language support for North American customers with departments or international operations with French, Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese language requirements.

Microsoft also said that starting Aug. 1 it would ship a version of its Dynamics AX software, Dynamics AX for Retail, for specialty retailers. The application will provide links between point-of-sale devices such as cash registers to back-end ERP systems.

Attendance at this year's Convergence is 8,500, up from 6,700 last year.