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I have just returned from the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, and I am really excited about some of what I heard from the software giant. The theme this year was “the cloud.” Software in the cloud, infrastructure in the cloud, mail in the cloud, private clouds, public clouds, partner clouds. So what does this have to do with Relationship Management applications? Well, a lot. This type of business application is one of the most deployed in the cloud as a Software as a Service (SaaS). With all of the new cloud announcements this week, it is pretty clear that Microsoft sees it’s future as a provider of cloud based solutions. This includes the Microsoft Dynamics CRM application which is already offered online, but is being architected to be even more capable in the future online.
I have to say, I agree with this approach. While ERP and accounting software online has been slow to take off, CRM applications are a natural fit online and have been very well received by organizations. The reasons are many. At one time, organizations pushed back due to issues around security, availability, network connectivity, and a perceived lack of ownership. Today’s CRM applications have addressed all of these concerns. Most organizations are more connected, and in the case someone needs to work offline, Dynamics CRM allows this type of functionality. Our clients are seeing the the online version of CRM is secure and their data is safe. They also see how online application can be tailored to meet the specific business needs of an organization. Dynamics CRM not only provides accelerators for non profits, but non profits can use those accelerators as a starting point and continue to tailor the relationship applications to address their business issues. Having an online application that is tailored to an organizations’ unique needs provides real value, quickly. Applications can be up and running in days or weeks and can be rolled out to users quickly. Intuitive interfaces and integration with Microsoft Outlook increases user adoption, allowing an organization to gain benefit more rapidly.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online allows organizations to gain real business value without costly upfront software licensing. For example, the current online price point for not for profit users can not be beat! Less than $10 per user per month. THAT is value.
By: Mike Nafziger, RSM McGladrey, Inc., Microsoft Dynamics Partner for Not-for-Profit Organizations
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