Taking the next step in its walk toward an on-demand version of its Dynamics customer relationship management software, Microsoft announced Jan. 10 that it's releasing the code for its next major upgrade, Titan, to about 300 partners. The early look-see could help ease some partner fears around the impact of an on-demand model from Microsoft. Titan, expected this summer, has a couple of major attributes that bring it into the realm of SAAS (software as a service), or on-demand software: multi-tenancy capabilities (a shared infrastructure for all users) and a single code base across on-premise and on-demand versions.
While both attributes help partners decrease their development and infrastructure costs (and pass those savings on to customers) it also changes a partner's revenue stream from one of annual license fees to monthly fees. That shift has led to a lot of questions for partners. "The biggest change [for partners] is that CRM becomes a multi-tenant, host-able application," said Rob Boise, an analyst with AMR Research in Boston. "The early fears were that Microsoft was going to host [Titan] themselves and that most on-demand applications tend to be sold direct, rather than indirect," cutting partners out the equation.