How Flexible Is Titan
?"> Berridge said that while Titan will be compatible with .Net, Microsofts development environment, there isnt a lot of flexibility in the platform. "You cant configure an application in a multitude of ways without jumping into a programming environment, and thats limited to the CRM data model," he said. "There are no [custom] objects, no UIs. It really keeps programming central to core CRM. And I am still questioning the maturity of [Titans] core API [application programming interface] set. Thats going to be a key component to selling into non-Microsoft accounts," Berridge said."Microsoft is deliberate more than slow. Theyve been famously slow on embracing the Internet years ago. But when they do [embrace new technology], then theyre relentless," said Wilson. "Well see the same thing with Microsofts Dynamics applications. The fact that theyre slow shouldnt give competitors any false sense of complacency." Click here to read more about Microsofts Office makeover for its Dynamics applications. Wilson pointed out another tactic Microsoft may take with Titan: using it as the basis for a development platformboth internally and externallyfor its Dynamics ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications. "Microsoft has been careful to avoid speculating on what might follow Titan in terms of its other Dynamics products, but with vendors like NetSuite out there with an on-demand ERP suite, with SAP launching Business ByDesign [on-demand ERP suite], Microsoft has to be thinking about enabling on-demand versions of the rest of the Dynamics family," said Wilson. "And Titan and CRM will offer at least a laboratory for how you do that, if not the actual product foundations." While Salesforce.com has not taken the direct approach to developing ERP applications (of which CRM is a clear extension), the company has been direct in spelling out the fact that Apex and the Force.com platform are applicable for building not only CRM applications, but ERP-strength applications. At least one vendor, Coda Group, has committed to building out an on-demand ERP suite on Force.com. Beagle Research founder Denis Pombriant said that market forces will determine whether Salesforce stays in the lead against Microsoft. "Salesforce is going gangbusters with Force.com," said Pombriant. "They signed a 45,000-seat deal with Japan Post. What was significant about that is the deal excluded CRM; its strictly Force.com and the applications Japan Post wants to build. The good news for Microsoft is that theyve come a long way [with platform capabilities]. Theyre in the ballpark. But they may be somewhere between one half and one full generation behind." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Ovum analyst Warren Wilson said that despite Microsofts reputation for being slow to catch on to a few key technology movements, such as the Internet, the company shouldnt be discounted in its on-demand platform initiatives.