As a Microsoft Partner we like to dog-food Microsoft products before we go out and recommend them. It allows us to spot issues early and come up with techniques for working around them. In order to dog-food effectively you need to use a product for real, and put up with all the pain that entails. We’ve done this with BPOS, Office 365, on-premise CRM, Windows Azure, SharePoint, and Team Foundation Server – and we continue to do it today.
In December Microsoft announced that Dynamics CRM 2011 Online is now supported in the Online Service Delivery Platform (the same one that hosts Office 365). This is a very important development for CRM 2011 Online because it enables customers who are using Office 365 with ADFS enabled federated identity to use the same usernames & passwords to access an CRM 2011 Online environment, and not have to use Live IDs as required by the old CTP (Commerce Transaction Platform).
Now – before I go any further I have to say that Microsoft is very liberal with licensing for their partners. As a Microsoft Partner we get a large number of IUR (Internal Use Rights) licenses to try out Microsoft products. The benefit to Microsoft is that we can effectively try their products in real world scenarios before we deploy them with customers. Win/win all around.
Unfortunately since the move to OSDP, Microsoft Partners have been able to make use of their IUR rights on the OSDP platform. Because we have Office 365 access we can go and enable CRM 2011 Online, but we have no idea when partners might be able to make use of their IUR rights or even whether we can enable it AFTER we start using CRM on the OSDP environment.
For what it is worth I am more than willing to spend some money enabling CRM 2011 for a subset of our users to start transitioning our systems across, but before I go live with CRM 2011 Online I need to know that the IUR rights can be applied to the instance in the Office 365 environment.
I’ve had a fair bit of trouble locating someone to talk to about this who can give some visibility into what is going to happen, and when. So hopefully this post connects me with the right people.