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Monday, February 28, 2011

Brad Wilson on Partners in CRM Online

Again, Software Advice continues their series of interview videos with Dynamics CRM GM, Brad Wilson:

Brad Wilson talks about the change in Microsoft Partner involvement with the advent of Cloud-based CRM.

Source: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/crm/can-dynamics-crm-partners-survive-in-the-cloud-era-microsoft-executive-interview-1022411/

Touching on the complaints I made in my last post about the absence of the Partner-centric CRM deployment option, Brad Wilson suggests rightly that the relationship between Partners and Microsoft have changed in the CRM arena.  Unfortunately, it seems that the only “out” for a Partner is to:

  1. become an ISV-development shop (subsisting on the new Dynamics Marketplace for revenue), and/or
  2. become consultants for business and data-management processes in the CRM space

As a point of topic, the improved turn-around for “trial” deployments of CRM Online seems to be ungracious at best, as Partners appear to have been reduced to glorified CRM Online sales agents; the knife twisting a full 360° when both the interviewer Don Fornes and Brad conclude: “change is hard.”

At this point, I should state that I’m uncertain if the Partner-hosted CRM option still exists with CRM 2011.  I don’t know why it wouldn’t, but it appears completely absent from these interviews.  I always assumed that “On-Premise” was a simple moniker, and that it didn’t actually necessitate on-site visits from a Partner to “drop in a CD”.  Granted, I’m certain the deployment of a CRM Online organization would be dramatically faster than an On-Premise installation, but haven’t we improved that process in the age of virtualization?

I understand that Microsoft is investing heavily in CRM Online, and for smaller organizations with immediate needs, it can hardly be beat as a robust, capable, and prompt solution.  What I fear, however, is that Microsoft is calling all chickens home to roost, and arbitrarily discarding the value Partners have established apart from CRM Online, and the differences in the capabilities, customization or otherwise, with On-Premise.

Nowhere is it apparent that the customer will have the ability to protect, optimize, or archive their data in CRM Online in ways that are intrinsic to CRM On-Premise, and it seems that such is readily sacrificed for the ability to move faster.  I don’t care how fast your car can go, if you have no way to stop it or correct your course without a fiery spectacle, you won’t find me in the passenger seat.

P.S.  I would love to be soundly debated and corrected if anything I have said is incorrect.