Page 2

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2003-05-09 Print this article Print

This price is slightly greater than the $125-per-month average cost of the other hosted solutions. However, pricing differences will flatten and may even favor Microsoft if any customization is required or if an integrator is necessary to perform any complex customization.

Microsofts integration strategy is built mainly on its BizTalk Server—a package that includes servers, adapters and tool kits for performing software integrations. BizTalk costs between $6,999 and $24,999, but it greatly simplifies integration within the Microsoft environment. In addition, several partners have latched on to the BizTalk framework and now sell highly tuned "quick start" applications that easily tie applications into the MS-CRM system.

In the installed world, MS-CRM has tight integration with Microsoft Office applications. When it comes to the hosted world, some of that integration is lost, especially when using standard configurations.

Surebridge, meanwhile, has solved one problem—how to administer MS-CRM when it is run as a host. Developers at Surebridge have created a separate control panel for managing users and permissions.

Executive Summary

Usability Good
Capability Good
Performance Good
Interoperability Poor
Manageability Excellent
Scalability Good
Security Good
Only a few months old, MS-CRM already has clout. The Microsoft system ( is very easy to use, but it is still missing some functionality. In the hosted environment, each ASP is forced to take a slightly different approach.

(+) Core CRM product has strong company backing; easy to use; hosted version offers benefits of MS-CRM without requiring IT support.

(-) Costs more than other systems tested; integration and support for offline Outlook is complicated; some functionality is missing.

Price $99 per user per month hosted by Surebridge; $395 to $1,295 for MS-CRM client licenses and $995 and up for server.

CRM Systems Go Head to Head:
Labs Director John Taschek can be reached at

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel