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Dynamics CRM Live Made Channel-Ready

BOSTON -- In an announcement CEO Steve Ballmer called the most inevitable in the history of the company, Microsoft took the wraps off of Dynamics CRM Live, the hosted version of its Customer Relationship Management application, today at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston.

Microsoft will host Dynamics CRM Live from Windows Live data centers. Scheduled for availability in 2007, Dynamics CRM live will round out Microsoft's CRM offerings, which also include on-premise and partner-hosted options. The packages will offer the same functionality and run on the same code base, said Brad Wilson, general manager, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Wilson said that the only limitation will be that customers will not be able to run .NET assemblies inside the company's data centers.

"You can do the same things, but it won't be the same box," he said.

Wilson said he expects about a quarter of the CRM market to use the software-as-a-service application model. Many of those users, he said, will start with a SAAS model and then transition to an on-premise application.

Partners, Wilson said, will be able to profit by referring Dynamics CRM Live customers to Microsoft or by building custom applications for the Live model. Another earning possibility, he said, is for partners to start customers on the Live platform and then manage their transition to an on-premise model. Microsoft will also give Dynamics CRM Live code to partners that host Dynamics CRM applications.

Dynamics Live CRM will offer integration with the company's Dynamics ERP suites, AX, GP, NAV and SL. Microsoft does not currently offer Live options for its ERP applications.

"You could have CRM Live running talking to a Dynamics AX on-premise deployment," Wilson said. "That's what we're built to enable. You'll see more and more flexibility around that."

In other Dynamics news, Microsoft announced yesterday that it will sell all four of its ERP suites as well as its Dynamics CRM application on a per-user rather than per-module basis. The Business Ready Licensing plan will base pricing on the number of concurrent users of the software rather than on the hundreds of modules currently included in the suite.

The licensing plan breaks Dynamics out into three levels, each increasing in complexity and sophistication: Microsoft Dynamics Business Essentials, Microsoft Dynamics Advanced Management and Microsoft Dynamics Advanced Management Enterprise. The company also announced that the Microsoft Dynamics CRM application will be included on the Microsoft Business Solutions price lists.

The price for Microsoft Dynamics Business Essentials will start at $2,250. The Business Ready Licensing plan will be available for purchase worldwide on August 1; it is accompanied by a separate, beefed-up enhancement package.

About the Author

Lee Pender is the executive features editor of Redmond magazine. You can reach him at lpender@redmondmag.com or follow him on Twitter.

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