CRM Software solutions are a fundamental piece of the sales, marketing and customer service of all firms. Today, CRM Software dwells far further than these functions to manage all business requirements. It has been named by the people at Microsoft as xRM : (x) anything Relationship Management. Choosing which solution is right for your company is not easy and often companies compare different CRM offerings. Two of the major CRM software applications now available are Microsoft Characteristics نرم افزار مانیتورینگ شبکه CRM and Salesforce.
There was a time with your two CRM software applications the decision was more grayscale. You either looked at software working in-house (Microsoft Characteristics CRM) v the software-as-a-service model (Salesforce).
Now that Microsoft has moved into the cloud with their software as a service model and Salesforce now has a development platform with its “Force” offering your alternatives are now blurred.
Salesforce was founded in 1999 with a vision to create an on-demand information management service that would replace traditional enterprise software technology. Salesforce calls itself “the enterprise cloud-computing company”. Sales Cloud™ and Service Cloud™ are Salesforce’s applications for sales and customer service. Their approach to the cloud calculating deployment model has led to them developing the force. com cloud platform allowing developers and users to build business applications on top of the Salesforce offering.
Microsoft Characteristics CRM, created by Microsoft product team with vast resources was built with a long-term vision that will allow Customers to use CRM with multiple Microsoft products and choose deployment options to meet organisational needs.
IT science tecnistions Springboard found Australian and New Zealand was already the most mature market for SaaS applications in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to BRW Newspaper the market is tipped to grow 45% a year in Australia and New Zealand from $UA 1. 7 billion in ’08 to $US7. 7 billion by 2012. The newspaper also referred to customer relationship management software as the most popular SaaS application (35 percent) and that “companies in Australia are using SaaS because it’s cheaper, rather than because it’s much easier to use. Only 9 percent quotation “ease of use” as the reason for choosing SaaS.
Choice and Flexibility
With a multitenant CRM solution, Microsoft Characteristics CRM offers numerous deployment options, depending on your needs. On-demand, on-premise, and partner-hosted models are available for Microsoft Dynamic CRM. If your deployment requirements change so too can your CRM software deployment options as each deployment option is built on the same modern architectural mastery and data model. For example, you can take your configurations and data published by Microsoft and go on to In-House or a Microsoft Partner web based CRM software published model. Salesforce platform offers SaaS by the Cloud and you don’t own the software and configurations. If you want to change to an in-house solution you need to go on to another CRM application. You need to factor the cost of getting your data out of Salesforce. Depending on the level of registration you get for Salesforce there have been reports of your data being held hostage. This is, depending on your level of registration you need to upgrade your registration in order to export the information you have.
Salesforce claims to cost even less but Microsoft Characteristics CRM insists that the comparison is not for like services. A-la-carte pricing that is additional to potential price hikes at contract reconstruction time can significantly affect the whole cost of Salesforce. When assessing comparable online products between the two opponents, Microsoft Characteristics CRM Online is available for less than 50% of the Salesforce fee. The latest pricing in north america indicates that “Microsoft CRM [Online] runs $44-59 per user per month, compared to $125 for Salesforce” Professional Edition.
Entry price for Salesforce is cheaper but if you want more functionality you obviously have to pay more. With Microsoft CRM you have access to the whole system from the moment you first purchase. Your purchase decision should never be based on solely on price as its only one component in the decision making process. Those that buy first time around on price usually call back 6-24 months later asking for help. From personal experience decision makers who purchase solely on price first time around re-purchase the second time around on service. To compare in-house versus published pricing you need to calculate over a 3-5 year period and not just one year.
Ownership of Data
Salesforce, as a software-as-a-service provider, does not own the data collected by its customers. Instead, its data colleges are outsourced to Equinix, a third party company in north america and Singapore. With Microsoft CRM for in-house, and partner published options, customers have full control over the security and physical location of their data. You can change and take the information you have between these options. Microsoft CRM Online published by Microsoft will be released in Australia late 2010 and the data will be published in Singapore. Again, you will have the ability to move from published to in-house but the online model will have some rules around customisation code. In order for Salesforce customers to get development platform capabilities they need to buy the unlimited version.
Microsoft Characteristics CRM is designed for easy user usage to its similarity and compatibility with Microsoft Office and Outlook. Simply put, it is designed to minimize the necessity for training, reduce application switching, and produce high productivity. With the launch of Microsoft CRM 5 or 2011 its release name), Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 the GUI (interface) between the three product packages becomes very similar in look and feel. This provides users with an easy to learn experience and greater chance of user subscriber base.
Salesforce graphical vent is modern and should be easy to use for most users. The integration to Microsoft Outlook and Office is reported as not only strong as Characteristics CRM particularly for MS Surpass and Outlook. Those using Google Mail will find Salesforce to their taste.
Both Salesforce and Characteristics CRM have similar themes including sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, document management, contract management, product listing management and reports. Although each element for each product has its strengths and weak spot hand and hand you need to evaluate each application element against your business requirements (and not user likeability).
Often an organisation short lists three CRM applications to be presented to its users. Evaluation should not be based heavily (if at all) on the users taste the look and feel of the graphical vent. The users of an organisation tend to acknowledge one CRM application as of course we feel beloved with what we already know. If you ask a proctor who has been using a paper log for 30 years, what is better? A paper based or CRM system the answer is always paper! Over the years I have witnessed three different systems put in front of users at different firms and there is never a clear winner for the CRM application chosen.
At present, Salesforce has a lot of easy to use business add-on products for its core offerings built on its force. com platform. Microsoft has a host of ISV Partners who have built add-on products to Microsoft CRM but it’s not as easy to find these add-on’s spread out across the globe on various websites. Microsoft has just launched Pinpoint that allows you to search globally for Partner software solutions. Also, Microsoft CRM Characteristics Online does not provide same access to write custom code in a sandbox because Microsoft did not want outside code in a unique application, but with Microsoft Orange, ISVs can execute their own code.