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Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s Q4 2011 Update Offers New Enterprise Options, a Mix of New Features

by Jason Gumpert

Microsoft wanted its partners at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference to know that all signs, both in company's actions through product releases and partner programs and in buyer trends, point to momentum in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online business.  Microsoft made the case this week for partners to join the push to cloud-based solutions, highlighting the product direction and new partner programs to facilitate the business transition.

In April 2011, 73% of Dynamics CRM seats were sold for CRM Online, according to Kim Smith, Microsoft Director of Cloud and CRM Partner Strategy at a WPC session this week.  And Microsoft officials pointed out more than once during WPC that Dynamics CRM Online trials convert 40% more frequently to paid subscriptions when they have a partner engaged in the process. 

Microsoft is also continuing to court partner sales of the subscription-based service by offering a 40% margin on Dynamics CRM Online subscriptions on the first year of many deals, compared to 12 to 18% normally, according to Jeff Edwards, director of channel strategy for Microsoft Business Solutions.

The strategic decision to begin offering Dynamics CRM Online with Office 365 will have a variety of effects on the products and the partners selling them.   Rob Helm, managing vice president of Directions on Microsoft, believes the connection between the offerings will bring in both partners and customers from both sides. "Partners are more likely to get CRM Online customers to sign up for Office 365, but customers of the combined offering will be added from both [the Office-focused and Dynamics CRM-focused VARs]," Helm said.                                                                                 

Helm sees the streamlined licensing of CRM Online with Office 365 as a tangible benefit in the upper end of the market.  "Before now, CRM Online hasn't been as generous for licenses ...

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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