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12th May 2015

Salesforce.com & Microsoft Dynamics: Apples & Pears?

Salesforce.com came to the market in 1999 and rapidly established itself as the world leading cloud platform for developing CRM business applications.

Like most successful innovators and trailblazers it challenged the status quo; it disrupted the market; and offered a better and more agile solution – one that could more easily flex to the constant and changing demands of business.

Today, over 120,000 organisations worldwide have adopted Salesforce.com as their cloud platform of choice. These include small, medium and large enterprises – in almost every business sector.

And while all of this was happening, the traditional giants – SAP, Oracle and Microsoft included – questioned and challenged Salesforce.com’s vision and direction, but struggled to offer a stronger alternative.

But things have changed.

Most will agree that Salesforce.com continues to lead the market. But over recent years the sleeping giants have woken up. Oracle now threatens Salesforce.com position in the large enterprise space. Likewise, for SME organisations, Microsoft Dynamics now offers a compelling solution suite – with breadth and priced to suit more pockets.

All three offer CRM solutions that are rich in functionality; and, all three are recognised leaders in the cloud technology world. The likes of Gartner and Forrester offer good evidence for this.

But which is the ‘best’. And does the ‘best’ really matter?

As our business that offers services mainly to the SME sector, I’ve decided to consider Salesforce.com and Microsoft only.

Salesforce.com or Microsoft CRM Dynamics?

There is much commentary on the Internet that offers a view on this question. Many articles and functional comparisons, however, seem biased (because of the authors relationship with the vendor), inaccurate, or simply out of date (as these vendors regularly build and release more advanced capabilities).

That said, its always interesting to hear the different points of view on offer. And the scoring of functionality is helpful too.

From my perspective, and in loose, broad and relative terms:

Salesforce.com a pure play, 100% cloud solution on a multi-tenanted architecture. It offers, arguably, a deeper and richer set of default functionality. This enables you to customise your application in potentially quicker timeframes. It also provides, arguably, a more agnostic platform – in that its open API enables integration with any application with relative ease. And as Salesforce.com has developed its leadership over the years, a market of many thousands of independent ISV solutions has been established that provide extensions add-ons that can help you further accelerate the delivery of your application – its called the AppExchange. As the pioneer in the Cloud CRM field, Salesforce.com credentials are compelling.

By contrast, where Salesforce.com is arguably a deeper solution set, Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers a relatively broader one. It functionality stretched beyond the CRM, in that it includes additional (but related) products within the same ticket price. These additional capabilities include Power BI (for advanced Analytics), Office 365 (for email and productivity), Social Monitoring (for connecting with customers over social media), Lync (communications), and SharePoint. As a complete package, it is also priced at approximately 50% less than Salesforce.com (Enterprise Edition). These additional capabilities are available from Salesforce.com – but require additional investment.

So which is the “best”?

Well, I think it’s like apples and pears. They are both quite juicy. They can both fulfil CRM appetites in a similar way. They both offer nutritious value to businesses and organisations worldwide – helping them to grow and prosper.
But their respective propositions have slightly different shapes and, hence, it’s a case of which fits you best. The devil, as they say, is in the detail.

Hyphen8 can help you decide

I have intentionally not developed as detailed function-by-function comparison here as, per comments above, such an analysis can rapidly become out of date. Also, the right choice for you will very much depend on the scope of functionality that YOUR business needs – weighed against priorities and other factors.

As a relatively agnostic consultancy, Hyphen8 can help you compare and assess which of Microsoft or Salesforce.com would be the right solution for you. We offer a fixed price 5-day assignment, designed to: formulate and prioritise your needs, define the vendor architecture that will best meet your goals, and develop a costed and phased roadmap to achieve them.

Call us on 0207 608 5671 – or complete the form below – to explore this further!

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