And let’s not leave out Oracle’s Siebel On-Demand.
Microsoft released the software to manufacturing last month, and resellers are working with customers as a subscription service, or software-as-a-service (SaaS). Alternatively, Microsoft will also offer CRM 4.0 on demand from its own data centers within the next several months, as well as their conventional on-premises or self-hosted software. Talk about a 3 way revenue generator! I need to confirm if it will work with Mozilla Firefox browsers.
There has been a lot of “hype” with Microsoft CRM 4.0, code-named “Titan”, the company’s first software designed to work as a multi-tenant service. By letting multiple customers access a single instance of the software running on their servers, resellers can save money on the overhead infrastructure and pass those savings to the customers.
The multi-tenant concept is very popular with outsourced email providers.
Richard Smith, VP at reseller Green Beacon Solutions, quotes “Version 1 of Microsoft CRM was really proof of concept, and version 3 was a major step forward architecturally, but struggled to model clients’ business processes. The key phrase for CRM 4.0 is ‘configure versus customize’. CRM version 3 required a lot of custom code.”
Initial reports shows 4.0 comes with configuration tools that make it easy to map the software to business processes.
Oracle has been relatively quiet about its Siebel On-Demand in recent months, but rumour has it that Oracle’s is getting aggressive about their pricing.
Microsoft CRM 4.0 may cost anywhere from one-third to one-half what a Salesforce.com subscription costs.
Salesforce.com is well aware of the competition, but maintains their competitors weren’t designed from the ground up to work like as an online service. Salesforce.com was designed from ground zero as an online SaaS, whereas others have been adapted for SaaS.
Peter Coffee, director of platform intelligence at Salesforce.com added that Microsoft’s claim to be able to support 25 customers on one instance of its software is still just “proof of concept”. Pointing out that Salesforce.com has 38,000 customers vs. Microsoft’s beta of 600 customers “doesn’t seem a very valid user test,” Coffee said.
“Multi-tenancy isn’t a package choice; it’s architectural, fundamental decision that’s at the core of everything we do in terms of how we create and deliver capabilities.”
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has maintained his 3 key concepts from day one: easy customization, ease of use, and low cost. You get what you pay for.
2008? Lets the Games begin. With Oracle and Microsoft and Salesforce.com going after the Gold, Silver and Bronze.