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How and where Salesforce trumps Competition

Now that I am all caught up in the arguments for and against Salesforce compared to other CRM on Cloud offerings in the market, I decided to pen down my take on the same, albeit with a bias towards Salesforce. A neutral view on this topic is too much to ask for given that all the Product stacks has their own pluses on specific areas and so it really boils down to what exactly the Customer wants to achieve in their line of business. My intent behind this blog is to wear the critic hat and try to identify where it is that Competition lacks in when it comes to Enterprise level transformation programs from On Premise to Cloud.

Salesforce has always had the early mover advantage in the space of CRM on Cloud ever since they started off 18 years back. Their offerings of Marketing, Sales, CPQ, Service, Community, Commerce, App, IoT Clouds are all built on the Force.com platform powered by their own patented Cloud APEX Language. In comparison the offerings from others on these are a combination of in-house and acquired products which offer solutions in silos on varied platforms. These disparate systems has to come together as one single application if big enterprises are looking to replace their legacy on premise applications in Siebel CRM or likewise.

 

The factual points that I have considered below may not be the comprehensive analysis and for sure the CRM Cloud experts would have a varied opinion, but it definitely tries to hit the nail where it matters

 

Omni Application

As a Customer, if I am looking to move to Cloud from my On Premise application, I would not be much enthused to hear that it can be achieved via a multitude of Cloud applications and rather I would want to hear how a single application can cater to all my needs on Marketing, Sales, Service, Portal etc. In cases where there are multiple Product stacks that are required as a replacement, there would definitely be concerns on data integrity, data security, user experience, user training, integration cost and in house expertise to manage them. Salesforce provides a much more robust Omni application solution for the Customer to look forward to without the concerns that has been raised above.

 

Decisive Roadmap

Salesforce has over the years tried to reinvent itself (Most Innovative Company - Forbes), like over the last year it has been in the form of Salesforce Lightning across all the Clouds and this year the focus is on Salesforce AI Platform Einstein (Einstein and IBM Watson to collaborate). Where the competition lags is the incoherence in the roadmaps for their Cloud applications which lacks Clarity and questions galore on the focus. For example, if I take a look at the Oracle CX space, the recently released R12 version of Oracle Sales Cloud (Engagement Cloud) directly eats into the Oracle Service Cloud space by introducing Service features in Engagement Cloud and in the next further releases plans to bring in Knowledge and Field Service capabilities as well. Is that an indicator to sun setting of Oracle Service Cloud and trying to build a single Oracle CX Cloud application to challenge other CRM on Cloud offerings head on?

 

User Interface

Salesforce has got an easy to use interface which is browser based and supported on all the popular bowsers in the market and Salesforce Lightning Experience helps in providing the unified UI experience which takes it a notch higher up in comparison to other Products. The pages are configurable via the Page layouts and S-controls which are easily available. You could also create a wholly customized UI to suit your needs on VisualForce framework which can be hosted natively on Force.com platform. Comparatively the UI offerings across other CRM Cloud stacks is a mix and match of Alta UI framework and DotNet based UI with limited options available to customize them. The User experience in cases where multiple Cloud applications are in picture would not be uniform although there can be arguments in favor of the same User not being required to access a Sales and Service application.

 

More details on the considerations for Salesforce as your 'CRM on Cloud' solution is available in the next part of this series here

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