Microsoft is making new CRM services and add-ons for free to appeal to business users hurting from the worldwide recession, according to company officials.
Microsoft announced the new wares during the first day of its Convergence conference for customers and partners of its Dynamics CRM and ERP products.Among the new offerings: A service-level agreement (SLA) guaranteeing 99.9 percent uptime to all Dynamics CRM Online customers; eight new, downloadable CRM Accelerators, or extensions, for both on-premise and cloud-based CRM customers, that provide additional marketing and sales functionality.
"The 99.9 percent guarantee is higher than Salesforce or NetSuite offers -- if and when they offer these kinds of guarantees," said Chris Caren, General Manager of Dynamics Product Management.
Microsoft also offered "qualified" attendees of Convergence "savings of as much as 75 percent on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and up to 20 percent on Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics SL," company officials said.
Last fall, Microsoft offered its Dynamics CRM and ERP customers zero percent financing options to try to help spur sales. On March 10, Microsoft execs reiterated that offer, and also noted the company is offering Dynamics customers zero payments for six months through its SmartPay program, with extended payments from Microsoft Financing.
Dynamics is a billion-dollar business for Microsoft, but billings for that division were down two percent in the first half of Microsoft's fiscal 2009 (ending December 31, 2009).
In addition to touting freebies, Microsoft also is planning to highlight its "CRM is a development platform" message during this week's show in New Orleans, Caren said. Microsoft officials have touched on this in the past, mentioning the company's Dynamics "xRM" platform as a "relationship management" framework upon which third-party developers can build their own solutions.