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With Dynamics CRM-Office 365 Bundle, Microsoft Takes Aim at Salesforce.com

Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a new cloud-based solution for sales departments that bundles Dynamics CRM Online, Office 365 and Power BI.

The "Sales Productivity" offering includes five user licenses for Dynamics CRM Online Professional, one user license for Office 365 Enterprise E3 and the Power BI add-on. It is designed to be a comprehensive solution that streamlines the way salespeople do their jobs, which often entails jumping between multiple applications to perform different tasks.

"Users were just intolerant of having to get out of an application to go into another application," said Fred Studer, general manager of Dynamics product marketing at Microsoft, in a phone interview. "They didn't want to have to get out of their sales app to go into a social app, to get out of their sales app to get into a marketing app. And even within marketing, to have to get into multiple pop-ups. It just created a lot of usability confusion."

Microsoft's fix for that confusion is to make Office 365's analytics capabilities (via Power BI) and collaboration and social capabilities (via Yammer, Lync and Skype) easily accessible within Dynamics CRM.

"It's CRM for everybody," Studer said. "Whether you need it for sales, whether you need it for marketing, whether you need it for service, whether you need it for analytics, whether you need it for social. We have basically integrated all these components to really blur the line between the classic silos of sales, marketing and service, just as examples."

Microsoft is now offering the Sales Productivity solution at a promotional price of $65 per user per month for new customers; those who already have Office 365 subscriptions can purchase it for $45. Separately, the products would cost over $100 per user per month -- $65 for Dynamics CRM Online Professional, $20 for Office 365 Enterprise E3 and $20 for Power BI.

The promotional prices are guaranteed only until the end of Microsoft's fiscal year in June 2015, Studer said. Microsoft has not given word yet on whether it will change the rates afterward.

The promotional pricing is aimed as much at customers of competing CRM vendors -- namely Salesforce.com -- as it is aimed at current Dynamics CRM users who want access to Office 365's capabilities. A comparable offering from Salesforce.com, according to Studer, could cost over $300 per user per month.

"This is a really valuable opportunity for both our customers and, quite honestly...a lot of Salesforce.com customers who are waiting for this functionality," he said. "If those customers are close to renewing [with] Salesforce and really want the value of Office 365, [Dynamics] CRM and Power BI, they should let us know."

Several Microsoft partners, including 2014 RCP Rocket Award winner PowerObjects, are launching initiatives aimed at moving Salesforce.com customers to Microsoft's new Sales Productivity solution. PowerObjects on Wednesday said it plans to migrate 10,000 seats to Dynamics CRM by next July. The company is targeting its efforts at organizations with 100 users or more.

"When we find a qualified company, PowerObjects will work on funding $40K-$60K of the migration effort," said PowerObjects COO Jim Sheehan in a prepared statement. "This will go a long way or all the way in the migration depending on the system. If we can take away the cost to migrate -- along with bringing them a better product at a lower cost -- it becomes a no-brainer."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.