So you’ve done the research and figured out that Microsoft has the best CRM package out there. Good work! Now you have some decisions to make. There are three different deployment strategies when implementing Dynamics CRM: Online, On-Premises, and Vendor Hosted. How do you know what’s right for you?
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
Dynamics CRM Online is Microsoft’s cloud-based offering of CRM. It is hosted in Microsoft’s cloud, and you typically pay monthly per user. It’s also sometimes known as “Dynamics CRM On-Demand” or “Dynamics CRM in the Cloud.” With Dynamics CRM Online you don’t have to manage any hardware (e.g., servers) to run CRM. This means you can run it without having IT staff to maintain it. You can sign up and set up in 5 minutes, and you’ve got the power of Microsoft’s infrastructure on your side!
There are some pretty big limitations you should know about, though:
- You have to pay for storage space by the GB. This can get costly, especially if you are using CRM to track lots of documents and emails. Using CRM for this is one of its most helpful (and most used) features.
- You have to buy licenses for user in every environment you maintain. So, if you have DEV, TST, and PRD implementations you have to buy 3 licenses each month for each user. That can be a big hidden cost!
- There’s a hard limit to the amount of customization you can do. Once you hit the limit, you are stuck and can’t create additional custom entities. So you must plan carefully.
- Custom development is limited. You can’t create custom workflow assemblies, full-trust plugins, custom ASP.NET web pages, advanced SQL Server Reports or report subscriptions.
If you just want to try out Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and don’t want to get too advanced or customized on the features, this is a good option for you! However, keep in mind you’ll be fairly limited in development and might not be able to get all the advanced features you want out of it. If you’re a small organization with little growth potential, and want a plain “vanilla” flavor of CRM, this is probably your best bet.
Hosting CRM On-Premises means that you purchase the software and licenses outright, then install and run it on your own network and hardware. This option gives you the highest level of control over your implementation. All the cloud limitations disappear, and you’re free to do virtually anything you want to make CRM fit perfectly in your organization.
There are some considerations for hosting youself:
- Dynamics CRM requires multiple servers; it’s not as simple as a one-server install. This requires coordination and strategy, especially when thinking about mutliple environments and redundant systems.
- Some components cannot (or should not) be virtualized. That means you may need to purchase additional dedicated servers. Be sure to check the minimum specifications and requirements so you get compatible hardware.
- Don’t forget about Microsoft support! In order to get upgrades and support from Microsoft you have to remember to pay your annual maintenance fees on your licenses. This is a recurring cost that’s kind of like paying an insurance premium–It’s a pain, but you’d worry if you didn’t keep it up.
- The wide-openness of an On-Premises install means it is possible to perform “unsupported” customizaton and development. If you don’t know any better, you may be doing things that won’t be supported in a future version (or even broken in a patch!). Be careful to follow the standard path when customizing, or your hard work might disappear in a upgrade.
If you’ve got the infrastructure and IT staff to handle it, this might be a good option for you. Ultimately, it ends up being (much) less expensive in recurring costs than Dynamics CRM Online. The trade off, of course, is you must be sure to maintain all the supportive infrastructure yourself. More importantly, you need to trust your team is using best practices when extending the system.
eimagine Hosted CRM
eimagine’s hosted CRM is the best of both worlds! Hosting in eimagine’s cloud gives you all the benefits of a vendor-hosted solution, with access to the full set of features as if you’re hosting it all yourself. There are no development or customization limits, and you have eimagine’s team to guide you in best practices. You have easy, preferred access to our support and development staff. You data is secure and safe in our cutting-edge data facility up in the eimagine cloud.
Why is eimagine the best choice?
We have the highest Microsoft-awarded competency in Dynamics CRM (Gold) so you can be sure we know what we’re doing. We work hard to maintain this by keeping our staff trained, and ensuring we have new CRM clients and partners each year.
With Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) pricing from Microsoft, we offer you discounts on Microsoft fees due to the volume of business we do with Microsoft. The discounts are far deeper than what any single organization can qualify for in Microsoft’s volume licensing programs.
We’re your one-stop-shop for all things CRM. We have experts from business process analysts to software developers who can make your CRM dreams a reality. No need to shop around–as a hosting client you’ll be subject to the best possible pricing and plans for all our services.
You’re not locked in to us. We want you to be as self-sufficient as possible. You own your customizations and code, not us. If you choose to migrate to an On-Premises install, for example, we’ll help you seamlessly get your data and code transferred over. We’ll even work alongside or train your staff where possible. Our aim is to be your expert help, not your constant helpdesk support. This translates into huge cost savings on consulting services.
We’ll work with you to put together a hosting package that’s perfect for your organization. eimagine’s not a one-size-fits-all solution… We work with you to understand your wants and needs so we can provide a targeted, cost-effective package that’s tailored exclusively for you. It’s all provided by our certified, expert CRM support and development staff. Contact us today for more information on eimagine Dynamics CRM hosting!
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is industry-leading customer relationship management software developed by Microsoft. The product focuses mainly on sales, marketing, and service. It can also be used as a rapid development platform using Microsoft’s .NET framework. With development extension, you can customize the software to meet your specific business goals.
eimagine and Dynamics CRM
eimagine is the only Indiana-headquartered company recognized by Microsoft with a Dynamics CRM Gold Competency. We have worked with dozens of clients with CRM on implementation, installation, support, upgrades, security, maintenance, hosting, optimization, analysis and custom development. Learn more about eimagine and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
eimagine also has a Microsoft Competency in Hosting. Our primary hosting environment is a commercial, certified secure data facility. We offer enterprise-level Microsoft Dynamics CRM hosting with a flexible service level agreement that we’ll customize to your organization’s needs.