We all know that CRM and Collaboration are two workloads that have moved to the cloud. This article compares 10 hosted CRM solutions. The battle is now on the cloud.

  • Productivity. Three years ago Microsoft Office was going to be killed by the browser. Today, startups are gone and Gorillas are there: Microsoft Office Web Apps and Google Apps are some of the strongest players. Look for full fidelity and editing from rich client, browser or mobile.
  • Collaboration. Free e-mail has evolved to “collaboration”: IM, Office Originated phone calls from your device, audio conferencing, video conferencing, VoIP, Speech. Not only Google and Microsoft, IBM and Oracle are arriving. Evaluate:
    • Off-line support. 100% web is not always good.
    • Security. Who is responsible for data loss? Who validates the security at the datacenter?
    • Maintenance. In what moments is it done: At the convenience of the provider?
    • Interoperability. What LOB integration features are available?
    • Support. 7x24? SLA covers all services?
    • What collaboration level you need? Shared site, Portal, Content management, e-forms?
  • Platform as a services. Software developers will see a big fight in this category. BTW, David Chappel has updated his Introduction to Azure.
  • Applications. Exactly one month ago, the Us government announced a cloud portal. Emerging markets have similar offerings, e.g. Xertix on Mexico. Oracle announces 43 applications on the cloud (What a nonsense). Expect to see a lot more “software services” offerings arrive. Always remember that <Not all services are the same>. Are we ready to evaluate them?

Let me predict the growth of premium cloud services. Even for the larger companies, the free web has it’s limits. Expect to see the paid web to get more differentiation.

And always remember, the future is a combination of internal an external IT services: Software+Services.