Microsoft Courts SMBs With Dynamics CRM Online Channel Updates

The cloud-based customer relationship management software is now available through Microsoft's pay-as-you-go licensing program.


Microsoft wants to make it easier for its Dynamics CRM Online channel partners that serve small and midsized businesses (SMBs) to expand their market opportunities.

Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft's cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software platform, is now part of the Redmond, Wash.-based company's Open Licensing Program for channel partners, announced Neil Holloway, corporate vice president of Sales & Partners for Microsoft Business Solutions Division. Microsoft describes the option on its Open License Web page as "a good choice if your customer is a corporate, academic, charitable, or government organization that wants to pay as they go." A minimum of five software licenses are required to participate.

"Beginning today, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will be on Microsoft's Open Licensing Program giving small and mid-sized businesses access to the full suite of Microsoft Online Services in a way that fits their current engagement with their partner or service provider," said Holloway in a Feb. 2 announcement. "This presents a huge opportunity for Microsoft distributors and resellers and our CRM partners to differentiate themselves and grow their business."

Chiming in on the Microsoft Partner Network Blog, Gavriella Schuster, general manager of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, said the move will allow resellers "to go beyond just operational IT and move up the value chain in a business by engaging with your customers on their business processes." Dynamics CRM specialists can also leverage the licensing model to sell more related services and IT solutions for the platform, she suggested.

"The overall motion can create great synergies between our partners and resellers working together and forging strategic partnerships that will pay off in the near term as well as set up additional opportunities down the road," concluded Schuster.

In a separate blog post, Thomas Hansen, vice president of Worldwide SMB for Microsoft, said the licensing plan makes "CRM tools accessible to companies of all sizes," particularly for small businesses with limited resources and staffing. "With today's news, we're taking a big step forward in providing SMBs with access to a cost-effective set of tools that can help them identify opportunities faster, close deals more quickly, and build more loyal customer relationships.

Hansen added: "For small businesses, where staff and resources are sometimes scarce, technology is a competitive differentiator. In order to make CRM tools accessible to companies of all sizes, today we announced that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will be available under Microsoft’s Open Licensing program which makes it easier for Microsoft technology and service partners to offer CRM solutions to their SMB customers."

In a related development, Microsoft is readying the March 2 release of its new Cloud Customer Relationship Management competency, a set of partner benefits (software licenses, support and incentives) earned by meeting certain exam requirements and sales milestones. "Similar to the Azure and Office 365 cloud competencies, it is predicated on cloud performance. Partners will enjoy a rich set of benefits designed to help them grow their businesses," said Holloway.

"Partners that meet the requirements may earn the silver level competency at no cost and the gold level competency at a discounted rate," clarified Schuster in her blog post.

"We're excited to introduce Dynamics CRM Online in Open and the new Cloud CRM competency. This is an area of huge opportunity for our partners, and we want to do our part in enabling you to take advantage of it to grow and build your businesses," she added.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...