As an enterprise software professional, I’ve known for a half-dozen years that software is eating the world – and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone question as to where all that hungry software “lives.” Most people assume it’s in the cloud. Well, not quite. The Uptime Institute’s 2016 Data Center Survey indicates that 65 percent of enterprise workloads are running in data centers owned or operated by those enterprises, just about the same amount as in 2014.
In other words, there’s no question that software is eating the world. It’s just that a lot of it is still on-premises. For enterprise IT organizations, that presents both challenges and opportunities to extend the value of these software investments.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises: A growing customer base
Let’s look at enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) software, for example, the workhorse of any modern sales organization. With revenues of $8.39 billion, Salesforce is by far the biggest of the “Big Four” of CRM software, which also includes SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft. But as SAP and Oracle both face declining market shares with their CRM offerings, Salesforce now finds itself in the crosshairs of a perhaps surprising, and ascendant, competitor: Microsoft.
Microsoft, with a 5 percent share of the CRM market in 2015, compared to Salesforce at 21 percent, is on a drive to revitalize its Dynamics CRM franchise. First released in 2005, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product line has evolved to include:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM: On-premises software that is hosted by the customer within the enterprise.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales: Cloud-based, multi-tenant hosted (SaaS) CRM software that the customer accesses online.
The company grabbed headlines in June 2016 with its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, gaining critical “social selling” credibility, but more quietly, Microsoft has steadily won new customers by offering key capabilities that Salesforce doesn’t:
- Multiple deployment options: Microsoft offers private hosting, multi-tenant hosting (SaaS), cloud, and on-premises. Salesforce offers only one method of deployment – its on-demand, multi-tenant hosting solution.
- Lower cost than Salesforce: Salesforce Enterprise Edition costs nearly twice as much per seat as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional, a comparable product.
- More clarity and simplicity to product roadmap: As Salesforce’s corporate ambitions have expanded and fragmented so have the footprint and complexity of its flagship product, leaving some enterprise customers concerned about committing to an uncertain future with the CRM giant.
Data integration without application integration
However, Microsoft’s enthusiastic installed CRM base faces an immediate challenge: how to extend the value of this core application, right now, by integrating it with others beyond the Microsoft enterprise stack, without cumbersome connectors and manual integration. Sales and IT organizations have an urgent need for integrated processes such as quote-to-cash, for which CRM must be integrated with systems including:
- Back-end ERP
- Configuration engine
- General ledger
- Order management
- Fulfillment and others
The SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud allows all Microsoft CRM instances – deployed either on-premises or in the cloud – to quickly and cost-effectively gain the benefits of data integration without the expense and complexity of application integration. With more than 400 intelligent pre-built connectors called Snaps, SnapLogic enables bidirectional connectivity between Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365 and multiple other application endpoints – including numerous ERP systems from SAP, Oracle, and more. In doing so, SnapLogic breaks down the data silos that inhibit business growth and process improvement in the modern enterprise.
This blog post is the first of a three-part series on how SnapLogic brings together and aggregates customer data for analytics, connecting business processes faster – across on-premises and cloud applications in today’s hybrid enterprise. To learn more right now, download SnapLogic’ s new white paper, “Enterprise reality check: Extending the value of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.”
Interested in more deep dives on how SnapLogic meets the demands of enterprise integration? Check out my other SnapLogic blog posts.