Mainstream Support for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Expires, Moves to Extended Support

As of April 9, 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 moved from mainstream support to extended support. The CRM 4.0 software will be on extended support until April 10, 2018. It is not required to upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, however Dynamics CRM 4.0 users should understand how the support changes will affect their CRM deployment moving forward. If you are a customer using Microsoft CRM 4.0 On-Premise, you will no longer receive the following support items:

–          Warranty claims

–          Design changes and feature requests

–          No-charge incident support

–          Non-security hotfix support (except for customers who purchase an Extended Hotfix Agreement by July, 8, 2013)

Microsoft supports its software releases in phases. When Microsoft releases a new version of one of its applications, it continues to support the previous version as a mainstream release. Mainstream means that Microsoft will treat the release like their current production release and special conditions still apply. These special conditions include hotfixes for bugs, cumulative updates or service packs at longer intervals, and offering per-incident paid and prepaid technical support cases. After a couple years, Microsoft ends the special conditions and transitions the software into a phase called “extended support,” which typically lasts for five more years.

The table below, extracted from the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ, highlights the differences between mainstream support, extended support, and online self-help support for software products.

Support provided Mainstream Support phase Extended Support phase
Paid support (per-incident, per hour, and others) X X
Security update support X X
Non-security hotfix support X Requires extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending.
No-charge incident support X  
Warranty claims X  
Design changes and feature requests X  
Product-specific information that is available by using the online Microsoft Knowledge Base X X
Product-specific information that is available by using the Support site at Microsoft Help and Support to find answers to technical questions X X

Source: Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ, http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy 

Note A hotfix is a modification to the commercially available Microsoft product software code to address specific critical problems.

 

Non-security hotfix support requires an Extended Hotfix Agreement purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending. There are two methods available to sign up for the Extended Hotfix Agreement. The first option is an add-on program for existing Premier Support Customers. These customers can purchase the extended hotfix support for an annual program fee plus an additional fee for each nonsecurity hotfix provided in a contract year.  The second option is available on select products. You can enroll in Software Assurance or Business Ready Enhancement Plan at any time and only pay a fee for each nonsecurity hotfix needed.

According to Microsoft Services, you should consider purchasing an Extended Hotfix Agreement in the following situations:

–          When changes are made to products in the Extended Support phase.

–          When migration to a supported product cannot be completed by the end of the Mainstream Support phase.

–          If you have a history of requesting new nonsecurity hotfixes in any phase of the Support Lifecycle.

To discuss upgrade options from CRM 4.0 to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 contact xRM, a certified Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner. Visit our website at www.xrm.com or call us at (800) 836-5147.

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Microsoft Cloud Easy Offer is Available for a Limited Time Only

Microsoft Cloud Easy is a subsidy rewards program that returns a portion (15%) of every dollar you spend on Microsoft Online Services in the form of a rebate check that you can use to purchase products and services from an authorized Microsoft Partner like xRM (www.xrm.com). If you are a small to mid-sized business (SMB) looking to gain more value from your Microsoft Cloud Services deployment, there is no better time to buy additional Microsoft server or end-user applications than during the Cloud Easy Offer. SMBs have until May 31, 2013 to take advantage of this offer.

This program allows you to enrich and implement your Microsoft solution. You can use the rebate check to increase the efficiency of your CRM users with xRM consulting or training offerings, such as xRM hourly consulting, prepaid consulting or Quick Start CRM Training. These services will ensure that your CRM deployment pays real dividends for your company. Another way to redeem the subsidy check is to purchase innovative and cost-effective CRM tools like xRM Constant Contact Integration and xRM Web Gateway, which enhance CRM deployment capabilities and provide a powerful system to grow any business.

The Cloud Easy Offer applies to the purchase of at least five user licenses and up to 200 user licenses. In addition, the offer only pertains to purchases made between March 1, 2013 and May 31, 2013. The rebate check is redeemable up to 30 days after product purchase, and the total amount of the subsidy check varies depending on the Cloud Service that you select. You can estimate your rebate with the Cloud Easy subsidy calculator

If you have made the move to the Cloud, Microsoft offers a similar program, the Big Easy Offer 10, with comparable terms. For more information on the Cloud Easy offer, read the full Microsoft Cloud Easy Offer Terms and Conditions.

Click here to take advantage of the Microsoft Cloud Easy Offer with xRM.

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xRM Web Gateway Rescues Internet Lead Capture Customers

On March 30, 2013, Internet Lead Capture (ILC) went dark for all its remaining users, marking the final death knell for the service. If you haven’t yet found a replacement for ILC, consider xRM Web Gateway from Microsoft Partner xRM.com.

Microsoft initially announced that it would discontinue ILC back in November of 2012. The service was never widely adopted in the marketplace due to its relative paucity of features and the existence of more powerful alternatives. However, ILC had a dedicated group of customers that depended on it to gather leads on the web and input those leads directly in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Once Microsoft announced the decision to abolish the service, many of those customers pleaded with Microsoft for a stay of execution, and Microsoft extended the date. No new users could access ILC after February 15, 2013, but the service stayed active for existing customers until March 30, 2013.

Companies still looking for a replacement should investigate xRM Web Gateway from xRM.com. More than a copy of ILC, xRM Web Gateway actually offers more functionality than the discontinued service from Microsoft. xRM Web Gateway works with partner-hosted and on-premises Internet-facing deployments for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 in addition to CRM Online. It supports the use of all entities in CRM, including custom ones, enabling the capture of just about any information, not just leads. It also works with any existing web page, saving users the trouble of recreating enabled pages from scratch.

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Microsoft Announces MarketingPilot 15 Release, Adds Dynamics CRM Integration

At Convergence 2013 in New Orleans, Microsoft announced that it would release MarketingPilot 15 – a new version of the integrated marketing management (IMM) solution that brings together MarketingPilot and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft acquired MarketingPilot last October to help organizations attract, retain and grow their customers in new ways by enhancing the marketing automation capabilities of Dynamics CRM. MarketingPilot helps manage products, budgets and resources, and executes and monitors marketing campaigns and customer interactions across social and digital channels. The integration of MarketingPilot with Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a welcome development that will greatly improve the IMM capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, providing Microsoft CRM customers with a powerful alternative to Salesforce.com Marketing Cloud.

MarketingPilot 15 is an online release and includes a new MarketingPilot Connector as well as an updated user interface that allow it to work hand-in-hand with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and CRM Online. The MarketingPilot update will be available to U.S customers by the end of March and by the end of 2013 for international customers.

MarketingPilot 15 features a similar look and feel to Microsoft Dynamics CRM (screenshots are available via Bob Stutz’s blog post) and offers a substantial range of capabilities including:

  • Digital Asset Management
  • Project Management
  • Collaboration tools
  • Spend Management
  • Budget Management
  • Campaign Management
  • Marketing Database
  • List Segmentation
  • Behavior Analysis
  • Campaign Automation
  • Lead Management
  • Landing Page Builder

MarketingPilot provides the kinds of rich customer insights that can help companies grow their revenue, capabilities that were only available through external third-party solutions in the past. The acquisition provides Dynamics CRM users with a tool to align their sales and marketing efforts and shows the lengths that Microsoft is willing to go to improve the integrated marketing management capabilities of Dynamics CRM.

Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, wrote in the CRM Connection blog, “We have had some great feedback from customers.” He continued, “This new release, just five months after the acquisition, reinforces our dedication to the marketing automation space and underscores our commitment to continue innovation in MarketingPilot and to our joint customers.”

“In today’s economic climate, [organizations] want to get back to growth mode. Automation is about productivity savings. Growth is about the new generation. Marketing is nexus of that,” said Bill Patterson, Microsoft Dynamics CRM program management architect. “We will make MarketingPilot a part of our family, to help our customers use marketing as a lever for growth,” he said. Patterson credits Stutz’s leadership for Microsoft taking on an integrated marketing management (IMM) acquisition.

The pricing details have yet to be announced, but Microsoft representatives said it will have per-user pricing. The MarketingPilot Connector for Dynamics CRM is available for download now at the Microsoft Download Center. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm.aspx and www.marketingpilot.com.

Have feedback regarding MarketingPilot? Share your thoughts and experience below and to @xrmdotcom.

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