Microsoft's Software+Services (S+S) strategy comes in many guises. At its Convergence 2008 conference in Orlando this week for its business-applications customers and partners, Microsoft highlighted yet another one of its S+S forms: Third-party service extensions to its on-premise software.
Microsoft's business applications include four different ERP suites, plus its Dynamics CRM offering. Microsoft has made noises about delivering versions of its Axapta, Great Plains, Solomon and Navision ERP products that will be multi-tenant and Microsoft-hosted (with no firm due dates so far). And Dynamics CRM 4.0, the latest version of Microsoft's CRM product, can be deployed by customers in on-premise, partner-hosted and/or Microsoft-hosted configurations.
(Microsoft reconfirmed this week that its Dynamics CRM Live 4.0 release will be "broadly accessible" in the spring of 2008. Not sure if that is Microspeak for moving from beta to final, or just talking about a broader beta....)
At the Convergence conference on March 12, Microsoft announced that it also would make available paid service extensions to its on-premise Microsoft ERP and CRM products. (I haven't seen prices for these published anywhere yet. I have a question in to Microsoft about pricing.) The services unveiled today:
- Payment service: Fraud prevention technology from PayPal and Chase Paymentech Solutions, for those using credit cards.
- Marketplace service: Integration with eBay allows customers to sell their products on eBay as well as through their own Web stores and offline channels.
- Keyword marketing service: Campaign tracking and management for search engine marketing (via Microsoft's adCenter, I am assuming).
This isn't the first time Microsoft has unveiled service extensions to its software. Last year, the company rolled out a number of third-party services (including credit-card processing, marketplace services and payroll services) to its Office Accounting Express 2007 product.
And earlier this year, Microsoft announced it would follow a similar strategy for its Office Live Small Business service. (So, in this case, we're talking services extensions to a service, rather than software.)
Paid extensions to Microsoft's recently consolidated SKU of Office Live Small Business include Store Manager, a hosted e-commerce offering from Microsoft for $39.95 per month, that will help customers sell products on their own site, as well as on eBay; custom domain name and e-mail support, which will provide customers with private domain-name registration, plus 100 company-branded e-mail addresses, each with 5 GB of storage. Microsoft is offering that service for free for the first year and $14.95 per year after that.
Are any of these kinds of Microsoft and third-party service extensions of interest to you users of Microsoft business applications?