History is full of interesting corporate rivalries. Upto a point these rivalries have helped to foster healthy competition, promote innovation and allow companies to focus on strengths.
Whether its Fedex vs UPS, Walmart vs Target or AT&T vs Verizon, there is one thing in common. It is the potential customer that benefits.The software and technology industry also has its share of companies vying to outdo each other. There is one example that could be of benefit if you are considering replacing your existing CRM solution.
We are talking about Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM – both leading products in terms of functionality, ease of use and market share. More specifically Salesforce has an edge in market share but Dynamics CRM is closing the gap and is a force to reckon with in its own right.
At the mid to upper tier of CRM solutions both these products are very good candidates for an alternatives CRM solution.
Lets take a look at an overview of how these two compare with each other.
Hosting & Deployment
Lets start from the top. The first thing you should know is that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is available in both offline or in premise installations and cloud versions. it is possible for customers to switch between the two installation and deployment modes. Salesforce on the other hand is purely a cloud based solution. Salesforce does allow limited offline access to CRM data but this comes at an additional cost.
It is important to factor in your business requirements and objectives before you take a decision on whether you should opt for a totally Saas based solution from the ground up or a solution that allows you to install and deploy on both the cloud and onpremise.
Pricing & SLA
Pricing is one of the primary concerns that influence a purchase decision, especially if the number of users is high. Without going into the actual pricing at the given time, lets just say that Microsoft policy on pricing is more transparent, the cost per user is lower and there are no additional charges for services such as social listening and customer analysis.
Microsoft also includes an SLA that is financially backed and guarantees a 99.99% uptime.The company accepts accountability to its customers in the event guaranteed uptimes are not met. Salesforce on the other hand has no such SLA.
Overall User experience
Both are excellent products with a high level of usability. Navigation in both products is user friendly although the approach taken is different. There are of course strengths and weaknesses of both products.
For existing MS-Office users, Dynamics CRM offers a familiar interface that can be productive in terms of transition time. Such users don’t need a lot of acclimatization and the learning curve for may be lower in case of Dynamics CRM, but by a small margin.
The overall interface and navigation of Salesforce although different is very intuitive. It is possible for an administrator to personalize user interfaces. Dynamics CRM does offer more in terms of customization of the user interface and this does not require administrator intervention or privileges.
Reporting & Dashboards
The bottom line is that both products contain powerful out of the box standard reporting tools. It is possible to create custom reports from scratch in both products although the approach is different.
In Dynamics CRM custom reports can be created by using SSRS – a Microsoft server based report generation system. Although SSRS reports are powerful, the only downside to this may be that these require additional development effort. Salesforce however has inbuilt capabilities and features that allow the end user to create and save customized reports and then run these reports on demand.
On the other hand, Dynamics provides true drill down capabilities and the reports are in real time with no lag. Salesforce reports have some time lag and although there is drill down capability the reports require more keystrokes to review granular information.
Usability on the go
Mobility is an area where Salesforce has an edge over Dynamics CRM. Users of Salesforce can benefit from the excellent mobile application and can stay connected no matter how long they are on the move.
Microsoft is working to close the gap and there is no doubt we should see rapid strides in this area by Dynamics CRM in the near future.
Microsoft product integration
Both offerings allow for integration with Microsoft products such as MS Office, Outlook. and Sharepoint. Microsoft does this with finesse and it is a seamless experience. USers do not get the impression that they are using three different products when working with the CRM,Outlook and Sharepoint.
Salesforce does an adequate job of integration with Microsoft applications and users do not have any major complaints. This difference may not be of a great advantage to you if have invested heavily in Microsoft products.
Both systems offer similar functionality but the approach is different in many ways. It is important to get your requirements in place and select the software that maps to the nature of your organization and its requirements. At the end of the day it is about selecting the right tool for the right job.
For more information on choosing the right CRM solution for your type of business, do read our CRM Buyer’s Guide to avoid any costly CRM selection mistakes.