Microsoft is stepping up its aggressive competition in CRM. On Monday, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant announced its Dynamics CRM Online, the cloud version of its 2011 product -- and an introductory pricing of $34 per user.
The price, which is less than half that of comparable products from Salesforce and Oracle, is good for 12 months, after which it increases to $44 per user. The online version of the on-premise product, which offers integrated ERP and CRM applications, will become available at the end of February in 40 markets and in 41 languages. In addition, a Cloud CRM for Less offer provides up to $200 per user that can be applied to data-migration or customization services.
'A Familiar User Experience'
In announcing the online version, CEO Steve Ballmer said Dynamics CRM is an industry leader because it gives "sales professionals a familiar user experience," enables greater collaboration, and streamlines processes and access to real-time data.
The familiarity of the user experience is derived from the use of what Microsoft describes as a "next-generation native Microsoft Outlook client." The product also features guided process dialogs, real-time dashboards, and in-line business intelligence for performance and goal management. There is integration with Windows Azure, contextual Microsoft SharePoint capabilities, and a new Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace for configuration and customization to particular business requirements.
The global availability and pricing structure are major efforts by Microsoft to take customers away from Salesforce.com and Oracle's CRM products. Salesforce's pricing starts at $75 per user, and Oracle's CRM On Demand is $65 to $125 per user, depending on the configuration. Some observers are comparing Microsoft's offering to the enterprise version of Salesforce.com, which is $125 per user monthly.
As part of its sales pitch, Microsoft Dynamics CRM director Bill Patterson told news media that his product offers "full sales, service and marketing functionality in our standard service," while Salesforce.com only offers marketing and real-time intelligence in the enterprise edition. Additionally, he noted that Dynamics CRM's dashboards are continually refreshed, while Salesforce users have to click refresh -- which they can only do twice hourly without getting added charges.
'Lots of Flux'
In response, Salesforce counters that its CRM has a Chatter social-collaboration layer that Microsoft can't match, as well as versions for all mobile platforms, which Microsoft does not.
Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp., said an accelerating price war among major CRM products is "inevitable." She said Microsoft is doing in CRM what it has done in other markets -- bringing all its weight to bear when it has determined it wants a bigger piece. Last year, she said, it was "cloud, cloud, cloud," and this year, while clouds are still flying high, CRM is a key target.
The keys to Microsoft's strategy here, DiDio said, are not only global availability, aggressive pricing, and features, but the company's well-established services and support. "There is lots of flux in this market," she said, adding that the thing to remember is that, "for any CRM customer, their main loyalty is to their wallet."
Posted: 2011-01-26 @ 10:19am PT
I'm a CRM software consultant in Houston and there has been a lot of excitement about MS Dynamics 2011 among our customers. Dynamics 2011 familiarity to users and the low pricing may entice some businesses to "shake things up" and try CRM software without the fear of great financial commitment.
Posted: 2011-01-20 @ 1:22am PT
The CRM Market is least dependent on the price factor. Organisations going in for CRM implementation consider the flexibility and completeness of the software instead of reducing the cost of user licence. Its all about the features being delivered along with the ease with which the softeware could be customized. To believe that with a price reduction MS Dynamic CRM will have huge market share is bit funny. Pricing strategy will work for those who just want to deploy some CRM solution without doing GAP analysis, without modifying the software to suit to the organisations current process and using the standard features. But we hardly find this kind of customers. CRM is not just a piece of software, it is basically a organisations strategy & vision to improve the customer services in short / medium / long term.
Posted: 2011-01-20 @ 12:43am PT
Well, all are trying hard to push their products in the Market. Some being specific to Association Management like www.aptify.com, some being specific to www.salesforce.com, and rest being core CRM. The next big part will be the flexibility of the various platforms and clouds where these CRM's could be deployed. If the CRMs being sold are compatible with multiple platforms rather platform independent more will be the opportunities to sell the CRM solutions.