In case you missed it, Microsoft Dynamics CRM took the “Winner” position in four major categories of the 2015 CRM Magazine Market Leader Awards. Microsoft unseated Salesforce.com and was recognized the leader in the following categories:
- Enterprise CRM Suite
- Midmarket CRM Suite
- Small Business CRM Suite
- Sales Force Automation
Ratings from industry analysts are based on a mix of weighted criteria including depth of functionality, customer satisfaction, company direction, and five-year cost for software/maintenance.
As Salesforce has focused its attention in recent years on transitioning from a CRM business to a platform business in its push to remain competitive, Microsoft and other CRM competitors, which already have platform foundations, have surpassed Salesforce in compelling features and functionality.
While Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce, the two leading CRM solutions, offer similar functionality, factors like cost, packaging, deployment, customizability, software integration, and familiarity make Dynamics CRM the more appealing option not just for enterprises, but for small and midsize businesses as well.
Here are 7 reasons why Microsoft Dynamics CRM beats Salesforce as today’s CRM of choice.
1. Choice of Deployment
Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers users the full range of deployment options: SaaS (multi-tenant hosting), privately hosted (single tenant hosting), or on-premises. You also get your choice in cloud platform (Azure, vendor cloud, public, or private). Salesforce is only available as an on-demand solution (multi-tenant), committing your company to a SaaS deployment model and higher long term TCO (consider the “rent vs. own” model).
Having the option for private hosting and on-premises enables complete control over your IT environment, data security, deployment, application integrations, customizations, etc.
If your business uses highly sensitive data or faces data security regulations, then delivering it over the internet is not the most secure choice. Some industries’ data management regulations require that certain data and the solutions to manage it be kept on-premises.
One of the greatest benefits of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is its ability to grow and change with the way your business works. A vast amount of customization can be done with out-of-the-box configuration tools, enabling businesses to customize entities, fields, forms, views, security models, and workflows without coding. For more complex customizations, businesses can rely on Dynamics CRM as a development platform to build and integrate nearly any custom business application or process into CRM.
Both solutions offer the ability to extend the system with add-on applications as needs change. However, the on-premise and private hosting options with Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers greater freedom in terms of integrating custom-built or third party business applications into CRM.
Flexibility with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform embraces common web development standards, including .Net, Java, HTML and more. Businesses can use these universal programming languages to independently build their own customizations or apps integrated with CRM. Additionally, there is a large, established network of independent software vendors who build solutions (third party apps) to integrate with Dynamics CRM.
With all of these extensibility and programming options available, there are few business solutions that can’t be designed and built with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Development Challenges with Salesforce.com
Multi-tenant cloud environments, like Salesforce, have inherent limitations that must be overcome for adequate customization and integration. Since computing resources are shared across organizations, one company’s usage can affect all customers of the application. This creates the need to govern APIs, limiting the computing resources available to a customer at any given time.
Multi-tenancy makes it difficult to distribute custom code across numerous companies all sharing the same application instance. A few lines of faulty or resource-heavy code can suck up all the available resources and impact all users. The Salesforce solution to this is an additional abstraction layer for developers, which “governs” the resources being used by custom code before distributing it to the application, limiting the complexity of your customizations.
Additionally, it’s worth considering that application data delivered over the internet (the cloud) is slower and less secure than an intranet (on-premises) network.
4. Salesforce Vendor Lock-In
Salesforce uses its own programming code – Apex – which is designed for use on a multi-tenant, on-demand environment (public cloud). Apex is used exclusively for building business applications to manage processes within the Force.com platform. While .Net and Java based apps can be integrated with Salesforce, it requires that that users are on the more expensive Salesforce Enterprise package or pay an additional subscription to the Force.com development platform.
Having a non-universal programming code, like Apex, introduces high exist costs for Salesforce customers. Companies who choose to extend their Salesforce solution with custom development created with Apex code will not be able to transfer those investments to a new solution, locking them into Salesforce.
Feature by feature, Salesforce is the most expensive SaaS CRM solution in the industry, doubling the cost of Dynamics CRM Online. It also has a long list of weaknesses compared to full-bodied CRM solutions.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional = $65/user/month
Salesforce Enterprise (comparable to CRM Professional) = $125/user/month
Both Microsoft and Salesforce customers have the option to choose just the specific areas of functionality they need between sales, marketing and service, or all together for a bundled price. However, while the core offering in Salesforce provides only sales automation, the core offering in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a complete CRM solution including sales force automation, basic marketing, and deep customer service including case management.
Put simply, Microsoft’s offering puts comprehensive, enterprise-class CRM within reach of small and midsize businesses at a very affordable price.
Both solutions provide the option to add on their respective marketing and service solutions for deeper functionality. However, Salesforce add-on solutions are far more expensive and less robust than Microsoft’s add-on solutions.
6. Hidden Costs of Salesforce (The SFDC Tax)
Salesforce.com is notorious for additional costs which remain hidden behind their subscription price until prospects move further into the buying process. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, these items come standard, built into the advertised subscription price with no additional charge.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online includes access to your license, data storage space, mobile client, knowledgebase, web portal accelerator, document management, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee back by an SLA, all for the advertised subscription price of $65/user/month.
Salesforce.com provides access to your license and storage space, but customers must pay additional costs for mobile, knowledgebase, and portals.
Shockingly, Salesforce provides no SLA for uptime guarantee. Customers must request and negotiate an SLA themselves.
7. Familiarity & Outlook Integration
Another notable advantage Microsoft takes over Salesforce.com is the complete integration with Outlook. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is fully integrated with Outlook, meaning users can actually use Outlook to perform a wide variety of CRM tasks. Salesforce.com only offers Outlook as a plug-in and has even reduced the Salesforce functionality that was once available within Outlook, such as lead management.
If your business already runs off commonly used Microsoft technologies, such as Office and SQL Server, then choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM just makes sense. Microsoft will always have the upper hand over competitors when it comes to integrating with its own technologies.
If you have questions, or would like to learn more about which CRM is best for your business, please give us a call.