When Microsoft launches Dynamics 365 on Nov. 1, it's safe to expect a price war vs. Salesforce.com. But Microsoft will need something more to gain cloud CRM and ERP market share. And that something could be AppSource.
Think of it this way: Salesforce.com is more than a CRM platform. It's now a cloud ecosystem of add-on products and services. Within the MSP and IT consulting sectors, for instance, FinancialForce and Krow Software pitch PSA (professional services automation) systems built atop Salesforce.com.
Backed by that ecosystem approach, Salesforce revenues hit $2.04 billion in Q2 2016, up 25 percent from Q2 2015, according to an August 2016 announcement.
Microsoft is hip to Salesforce's "ecosystem" approach. Ahead of Dynamics 365's launch, the company is evangelizing partner and ISV opportunities. Niamh Coleman, director of partner business development, points to these eight reasons to get excited about the new offering.
Microsoft's Real Weapon: AppSource
Take a closer look, and you'll find Coleman pitching Dynamics 365's integration with AppSource -- one of Microsoft's latest online ecosystems. AppSource connects ISVs and systems integrators that specialize in Line of Business (LoB) applications. More than 100 systems integrators are accessible in AppSource, Coleman says.
So, forget about the so-called price war between Dynamics 365 and Salesforce.com. Sure, some customers and partners will surely focus on pricing perks. But the real battle involves the ecosystem wars. For Dynamics 365 to truly thrive, the AppSource community has to flex its muscle.
Of course, the cloud CRM and ERP battles involve far more than Microsoft and Salesforce.com.
Oracle CRM, Zoho, More
Oracle CEO Mark Hurd has vowed to ensure his company is one of the top two providers of SaaS suites -- though he declines to predict which company will emerge as Oracle's chief rival. Oracle also is working to finalize its $9.3 billion buyout of NetSuite, though NetSuite shareholder concerns may ultimately crush that deal.
Elsewhere, Zoho offers an interesting mix of SaaS software (including CRM). And sister company ManageEngine has a range of MSP-centric software tools. The MSP sector also is filled with PSA tools that feature CRM capabilities. There, names like Autotask and ConnectWise come to mind.
But the real CRM fireworks -- at least near-term -- will involve Microsoft Dynamics 365 vs. Salesforce.com. Amid all the price war and feature war headlines, don't overlook Microsoft's fledgling AppSource push.