Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer concluded the company's Convergence 2007 conference on Wednesday with a demo of the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live service, the first release of the company's Dynamics software as a service.
The Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM, code-named Titan, uses the same multitenant code base to deliver both on-premise software and software as a service (SaaS) deployments. Multitenancy also allows the application to serve multiple customers at the same time, in different configurations for each customer, while protecting individual customers' data from unauthorized access.
Titan is the SaaS evolution of Dynamics CRM 3.0, which shipped in December 2005. Microsoft announced in July it would transition Dynamics CRM to SaaS with the next release, which is due in the middle of this year.
The upgrade, as demoed by Ballmer, provides customers access to their CRM data in either the on-premises installation of Dynamics CRM or the on-demand version. Both look and operate exactly alike, and the data can be accessed from Microsoft Outlook through a Web browser or even mobile devices.
"The innovation we see today is between personal productivity and line of business applications," he told the crowd. "It's about giving people the access to business information to discover information, work together, collaborate, do business. The question is how we will evolve. How will every employee in a people-ready biz of the future expect to interact with information?"
Earlier this year, Microsoft launched the Technology Adopter Program (TAP), as part of the Titan pre-release program, and it will look to bring in more partners from around the world.
Cheryl Kingston, director of enterprise application research for The Yankee Group, said Microsoft needed to deliver on this promise, and it has. "It looks like they are delivering out of the gate a fairly solid product," she "It's not stripped down like SAP is doing with their product."
Keeping the familiar look is important so enterprises don't have to make a touch choice, she said. "People like the UI now. If it's the same product, it should just be a deployment strategy and choice. Some companies really want premise based and don't want to consider on-demand at all, and some want on demand and don't want to consider premised based at all. So you have to meet all the demands."