The Partner Hosted Model of Microsoft CRM 4.0
Microsoft CRM is available in two slightly different hosted models. One is served up and hosted by Microsoft. Microsoft calls this product CRMLive. The other is served up by Microsoft hosting partners and is called the Partner Hosted Model. Although both offerings are essentially the same product, there are key differences between them.
Without getting into too much detail, the primary difference between the offerings is FLEXIBILITY. CRMLive is what it is and you don’t have too many options. With the partner hosted model you have maybe too many options. Unlike the rigid CRMLive offering, the partner hosted model allows the customer to pretty much do anything they want. From dedicated hardware, to a place for custom code or plug-ins, anything is possible. Additionally, Microsoft does not control the partner hosted model and partners are allowed to get creative and create value for their hosted offering anyway they see fit. Obviously the reporting of the license usage is a must for all partners but apart from that, they are free to provide value anyway they see fit.
Similar to CRMLive having a Pro and ProPlus offering, many partners have the same or similar product offerings. In addition to the Pro and ProPlus offerings, many partners offer hosted vs. host only models, dedicated environment options, and month to month commitments are available. Setup fees and hosting rates vary depending on many variables.
Pricing ranges from $35.95 to $55.95 per user per month in the shared hosted model with limited setup fees for 12 month commitments. For a month to month commitment the recurring costs are still between $35.95 and $55.95, but the setup fees are higher.
In the host only dedicated environment the customer must purchase the CRM licenses and provide them to the hosting company. This will allow the hosting company NOT TO charge them for the CRM subscriber access licenses. This translates to approximately $14/user less per month. It is important to note that the host only model does indeed require a dedicated server.
The other nice thing about the hosted model is that you can leverage it to mitigate your CRM risk and pain. CRM can be a risky proposition. Hosting allows you to ease into the product then make informed and better decisions down the line. Typically there is no cost to move from one model to another. And, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the product never changes, regardless of what model you select. Whether you host or install on-premise, the product operates exactly the same. The users have the same two interfaces which are Outlook and Internet Explorer and the CRM administrators are also presented with the same tools to customize/configure the product.
Last but not least most hosting partners hosting Microsoft CRM also host the other core Microsoft services such as Exchange, SharePoint, Unified Communications, etc. The important thing here is to understand how to leverage the licensing, which in the hosted world is referred to has subscriber access licenses.
Would be happy to answer any questions and provide more information on any of the above.