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A Closer Look at Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online: Page 2

By Vangie Beal     Feedback
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More Microsoft CRM features

One key element of the interface is that Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides users with the standard (and familiar) Microsoft Office look and feel — from opening or importing files to the contextual ribbon introduced in Office 2010 products.

The contextual ribbon is extremely useful for accessing just the options you need when inside specific parts of the CRM. As you move within the CRM, the ribbon changes to provide quick one-click access to the related functions.

Interface features like this makes those familiar with Microsoft Office productivity software feel at home in the Microsoft CRM product. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 also integrates with a number of other Microsoft technologies, including Exchange, SharePoint and Office. You can run the CRM from within Outlook, on mobile devices or via your Web browser so there is a decent choice of access options for individual user preference.

In Microsoft CRM you can use a dashboard designer function to format your CRM dashboard however you choose. You select a layout and assign components to six different boxes on the page. Once saved, the dashboard can be set as the default view when you log in to the CRM and you can also share the customized dashboard with your team of users.

Microsoft, which had reiterated its "global market" commitment while leading up to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online release, launched the CRM in 40 markets and 41 languages. Previously, the online version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM was only available in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

Also, the online and on-premise versions are scalable for any organization of any size. The same functionality is offered for businesses with a few employees right up to organizations with many thousands of employees.

Boost CRM functionality with the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace

Another much-discussed topic surrounding Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 was that this release marked the first time Microsoft delivered its product as a cloud offering before the server version. Further boosting its CRM cloud capabilities — and delivering on the company's "Software Plus Service" strategy — developers can leverage the Windows Azure platform to create custom code for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to help an organization achieve even more performance through customization.

On the same day that Microsoft launched the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, it also launched the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace for 20 localized markets. This Microsoft online service lets users of Microsoft CRM Online access professional applications and services from the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

In the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, you can expect to find applications that will enhance Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online for any business. Applications typically work like CRM add-ons and bring new functionality to the CRM, like adding group calendars, lead management, social selling functionality and telephone integration, to name a few. The Dynamics Marketplace is also home to a number of CRM applications and services designed for industry-specific use of Microsoft CRM.

Microsoft undercuts Oracle, Salesforce.com CRM pricing

When Microsoft announced introductory pricing for Dynamics CRM Online, it was a direct hit on two of its main competitors in the CRM space, as it severely undercuts pricing for both Oracle CRM On Demand and Salesforce products.

Based on per user per month rates, Salesforce.com pricing is $65 (Professional) and $125 (Enterprise). Oracle pricing starts at $75. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online pricing is set to $34 per user per month and Microsoft will allow current customers to sign a new contract to take advantage of the introductory pricing. The promotional pricing is set through to June 30, 2011 and is good for one year before the non-promotional pricing of $44.00/user per month kicks in. Microsoft also announced up to a $200 rebate per license to customers switching from Salesforce.com or Oracle. This rebate is available to organizations with a minimum of 15 licenses and a two-year licensing agreement for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.


This article was originally published on February 9, 2011
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