I recently blogged about the importance of trial in the cloud world and how you can adopt some best practices when evaluating CRM 2011 Online. Click here to read more.
This morning, CRM Online Team posted a document aptly called "CRM 2011 Online Test Guide". The document, as per the team, has been created to "take you through key steps in a methodology that leads to a successful experience which starts from initial setup, to using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online (CRM 2011) with your data." You can get access to the document here.
A smart move by CRM Online team since this is just in time before the Salesforce's Dreamforce conference at the end of August. I do not have statistics for CRM Online (number of trials compared to actual purchases) but I anticipate the ratio to be low as is the norm in the cloud industry. As a partner, one of the main reasons, I see all the time is lack of direction and alignment with the effort involved.
The document is a good first attempt and provides customers with possible technical components as well as an understanding of the potential effort involved in evaluating a cloud based solution. One word of caution - this is not a "linear roadmap". The first section is around installing a CRM Outlook client. This is not a requirement to evaluating web based CRM 2011 Online. You may skip this if using Outlook is not a key success criteria or you do not want to mesh your Outlook client with trial CRM. The other item to note - the document is not a preparation guide and expects certain effort before you are ready to leverage the document. I would love to see future versions of the trial guide encompass the Trial Life Cycle from provisioning a Trial to purchasing (or decommisioning) a Trial.
If you have used the "CRM 2011 Online Test Guide", please share your experiences.