Microsoft Goes Global With Its Dynamics CRM Online Cloud Application

Microsoft is finally going global with its Dynamics CRM Online application.

CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking at a customer event at Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters Monday, was slated to announce the immediate availability of the Microsoft-hosted version of the Dynamics CRM application for 40 markets and 41 languages.

Dynamics CRM Online 2011, which competes head-to-head with cloud CRM applications from, Oracle and others, has been available in the U.S. and Canada since April 2008. But the on-demand application has been unavailable outside of North America until now.

The on-premise and partner-hosted versions of Dynamics CRM 2011 will be available on Feb. 28, said Bill Patterson, director of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in an interview.

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To entice new customers to Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft will offer the service to global customers who subscribe by June 30 for a price of $34 per user, per month, for the first 12 months of service. The price will then revert to the current $44 per user, per month, subscription price.

Microsoft also plans to offer penalty rebates of up to $200 per user for new customers who are locked into Salesforce and Oracle CRM on Demand contracts, Patterson said.

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The new Dynamics CRM application has been under development for several years and in beta since September, being used by some 11,500 customers and 2,000 partners who build and deploy applications on top of the software.

Customers can contract directly with Microsoft for the Dynamics CRM Online service and some channel partners who resell on-premise Microsoft applications worry the on-demand CRM product will reduce their sales opportunities. But solution providers can resell the service under an enterprise agreement license and Patterson said they could earn margins up to 40 percent of the value of a contract's first year.

"The demand for services is still high for CRM," Patterson said, noting that many customers who implement online CRM applications need consulting services to tune their business processes.

Patterson wouldn't disclose how much revenue the online version of Dynamics CRM is generating compared to on-premise versions. "The growth of cloud [CRM application sales] is out-pacing on-premise sales quite significantly," he said.

Improvements in the on-premise and online versions of the Dynamics CRM 2011 application include a native Microsoft Outlook client, role-tailored design and advanced personalization capabilities, Windows Azure interoperability, and links to the new Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace.

That last item is particularly important to, an Espoo, Finland-based provider of mobile messaging applications that tie into Dynamics CRM Online. BookIT's applications are available through the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace and the direct link between the marketplace and the on-demand CRM application should provide a boost to the partner's business, said Bob Batz, BookIT U.S. account manager, in an interview.

And going global with Dynamics CRM Online also will provide BookIT with a boost. "We're expanding globally and Dynamics CRM Online is core to our expansion," Batz said.