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Partners Find Strange Bedfellows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Office 365

by Linda Rosencrance
Contributing Writer, MSDW
September 12 2011

When the next update of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is released in the fourth quarter of 2011, partners will be able to offer enterprise customers Dynamics CRM Online with Microsoft Office 365.

Announced at Microsoft's WorldWide Partner Conference in July, the update makes Dynamics CRM an add-on to Office 365, customers who sign up to use Office 365, can opt to add Dynamics CRM Online on the same bill, on the same provisioning engine.  And while this streamlined ordering and licensing may sound like an improvement in simplicity, partners are finding that selling a bundled solution is not without its own unique challenges.

With the interest of prospects and partners piqued from recent launches and promotions, Microsoft partners find themselves learning on the job with the combined offering.  Not only is there a learning curve for Office 365, but a combined sale of the two solutions is not seamless by any means; the products span a variety of business and IT interests and objectives, and, as partners are finding, such deals require sign-off from a range of decision makers to move ahead. 

With the transition under Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online will also offer customers new features and capabilities. For one thing, the update should make life easier for customers because it will include a single log in to improve the experience of a user switching between Dynamics CRM and Office 365 applications.

Functionality aside, what exactly are Dynamics CRM partners that don't offer Office 365 doing to reach out to customers?

Partner expertise

"We get a lot of questions from customers we're talking to about CRM Online who also ...

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About Linda Rosencrance

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in the Boston area. Rosencrance has over 25 years experience as an reporter/investigative reporter, writing for many newspapers in the metropolitan Boston area. Rosencrance has been writing about information technology for the past 16 years.

She has covered a variety of IT subjects, including Microsoft Dynamics, mobile security issues such as data loss prevention, network management, secure mobile app development, privacy, cloud computing, BI, big data, analytics, HR, CRM, ERP, and enterprise IT.

Rosencrance is the author of six true crime books for Kensington Publishing Corp.