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The Power of Choice and the Firewall

In 2010 owners of Microsoft Dynamics CRM On Premise installations will be inclined to re-visit how they are managing their Firewall configuration and access to their CRM system. Why haven’t I included the other implementation scenarios? Because they already ‘Got it, so they Get it’.

Power of Choice implementation Firewall Review

On Demand CRM

  • CRM Online – Internet access is native to the implementation. The only way you can get access to CRM hosted by Microsoft is over the Internet via an SSL browser interface (https://) or from within Microsoft Outlook. Organizations utilizing the Online version of the product are comfortable with their data residing outside of their network and accessing data over a secure connection.
  • Partner Hosted – Access is primarily by IFD mode but can be also setup for VPN connections. IFD Mode is a configuration of the CRM Server authentication model supported by the necessary DNS and Firewall settings. This allows Outlook users who are running in the Outlook Anywhere Mode (previously known as RPC over HTTP) to utilize the Outlook CRM integration over the Internet. IFD Mode uses Forms-based Authentication.

On Premise CRM

  • On Premise – By default it is locked down without any access outside the firewall. Extending the CRM system so that it is accessible over the Internet requires opening up the Firewall for the port CRM is running on and redirecting the port to the CRM server. Authentication is handled via integrated windows authorization. The user sees the pop-up Login/PW Window. The user will only be able to access CRM from Internet Explorer and not Outlook over the Internet.
  • On Premise IFD – Can be implemented with the IFD Configuration Tool by following the steps in the IFD Scenarios Document. Allows full functionality of CRM within Outlook including running reports over the Internet.

Year 2010 – Game Changers

For those of you that fall into the segment of On Premise with no access to CRM from outside the firewall you will experience a sea change event in 2010, because:

1. The public release of Windows Azure will validate cloud services in the Microsoft community.

2. Mobile Devices will become Mobile Platforms. Talking on our cell phone will be how we least use the device. There is also an emerging form factor revolution in the mobile device area. These devices will become more prevalent and CRM/XRM mobile access will become common place. Bing “Microsoft Courier” and draw your own conclusions. Hardware will finally catchup with the versatile ‘yellow pad of paper’.

3. Cost – ISVs are recognizing that they can build full featured solutions to expand or enhance the functionality of the CRM platform in the cloud environment as a Software+Service. The realization that they can deliver, support and roll out releases and bug fixes faster for hosted applications is coming of age in 2010. You only have to look at the upgrades that have been made to CRM Online in the last year as proof of the flexibility this approach allows.

4. Code on Server with CRM V.Next – CRM Online will allow code on the Microsoft platform just like applications installed for On Premise implementations. The specifics aren’t public yet but this will further enhance the selection of CRM Online as a full function platform. As a consequence adoption momentum will escalate and S+S will ride along.

Year 2010 – Action Plan

Consider the business value and technical considerations of utilizing the wave of cloud applications for CRM that will appear in 2010. If you decide to go ahead here is a list of some online technical resources:

CRM Implementation Guide online via TechNet:

Other TechNet

Microsoft Dynamic CRM Team Blog Postings

I relish the Power of Choice. The ability to select how and where the CRM application and data can reside open up the product to a broader range of organizations than any other CRM system in the marketplace.

Jerry Weinstock

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