Microsoft has taken the next step in its 'software plus services' strategy with the global launch of its Dynamics CRM 4.0, which will give customers flexibility in the way they source, deploy and use mission-critical business software.
Dynamics 4.0 marks a radical shift in the way Microsoft addresses its marketplace. Depending on their specific business and IT needs, customers can deploy the product either as a traditional on-premise solution, a web-based on-demand solution, or as a flexible mix of on-premise software and on-demand services.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 also features new multitenant architecture, which supports multiple customers per server. This means that different branches of the same company can customise the product according to their own needs. It also allows for a smoother and quicker deployment in a hosted environment, and within 48 hours of the code becoming available, customers were able to deploy partner-hosted offerings.
The new release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been in extensive use over the past year by more than 600 partners around the world and more than 100 early access customers representing a broad range of on-premise, partner-hosted and Microsoft-hosted deployments.
In South Africa, SA Tourism installed the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product after extensive due diligence comparing the Oracle solution. The agency's manager of e-business, Fiona Buchner, said that from a Microsoft-platform integration and cost perspectives, Microsoft CRM suited its needs more effectively.
"The Microsoft CRM solution is meeting our critical need to capture, develop and use relationships with international travel contacts, media contacts and business tourism contacts to close sales," says Buchner. "It has enhanced our productivity and given us the visibility into our systems that allows us to start establishing performance benchmarks and then measure results."
The solution's multitenancy capabilities let each of the agency's three divisions to tailor their discrete data and processes to meet their own challenges. And the multicurrency, multilanguage features fit perfectly with the agency's global operations.
"Microsoft CRM met the biggest burning desire for our organisation: the need to organise, store and access customer data so that it becomes an institutional asset that we do not lose when someone gets a job elsewhere," said Buchner.
The new version is offered under two product names: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for on-premise and partner-hosted deployments and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live for Microsoft-hosted deployment.