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Cloud Computing CRM Buying Guide: Top Players

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The cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) sector features sharp competition from all the big names — SAP, Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle and many others. We overview their contrasting approaches to help you decide which offering is best for you.

The hype about the cloud is everywhere – as well as being the subject of every single keynote at trade shows, it arrives via prime time ads and billboards. Everyone has heard of it. We are in marketing nirvana here. And it shows in sales. Forrester Research forecasts the worldwide Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market to grow to almost $12 billion in 2020.

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With the gold rush ongoing, it’s impossible to list every entrant into the Cloud CRM bonanza, so we’ll focus here on the biggest players, with a few other interesting offerings added to the mix. For other possibilities, see our small business, midmarket and enterprise CRM buying guides, and if you have a personal favorite, submit it via the “submit a comment” link at the bottom of this article.

Microsoft’s ‘Cloud CRM for Less’

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is pushing “Cloud CRM for Less” as a means of tempting Oracle, and SAP customers to switch from those online CRM tools to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The company is even giving $150 cash per user seat for up to 500 seats as an incentive.

The offer is good through March 31, 2012, said Brad Wilson, general manager of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Management Group. 

Like Larry Ellison at Oracle, Microsoft is going after cloud CRM market leader It went as far as to set up a site featuring people who switched to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has been launched for both on-premises and hosted (cloud) deployment. The on-demand option – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online – is backed by a 99.9% uptime SLA. Currently, it’s priced at $44 per user per month, said Wilson.

SAP Sales OnDemand

SAP big on cloud computing? The enterprise applications giant may have been a little late to the party, but it had no choice but to get involved and seems to be doing a reasonable job. The company splits cloud needs into two categories. SAP Sales OnDemand, for instance, is a public cloud targeting the end user, a sales representative. Delivered as software as a service (SaaS), it offers enterprises running SAP Business Suite a pre-integrated on demand tool. 

On the private cloud side is SAP CRM rapid deployment for sales, marketing and services. Users can enter that cloud to consume SAP CRM services in a secure space. 

Read the rest about cloud computing CRM at Enterprise Apps Today.

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