CRM Royal Rumble – Microsoft Dynamics vs. Salesforce.com vs. SAP vs. SugarCRM vs. Oracle: Part 2
If you missed yesterday’s blog, I addressed the question of “What’s the best CRM solution?” in the context of a classic WWF Royal Rumble match. If you missed it, for some context and to try and understand why I provided the above video, read Part 1 of the CRM Royal Rumble, where I matched up SugarCRM, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics. Today we will get to the face off between the two companies considered the current market leaders, Salesforce.com and SAP.
Salesforce.com – Ultimate Warrior
Ultimate Warrior came on the WWF scene in 1987. He was a lot different than any of the other wrestlers at the time and though he was different, it didn’t take long for him to amass a significant fan base. So much so that by 1990 when he first faced off with Hulk Hogan in the Royal Rumble, it was not obvious who the winner would be.
When Salesforce first came on the scene in 1999 touting its “no software” adage, many in the enterprise solution space looked at them as a non-threat. Fast forward a decade and it’s clear that Salesforce is a threat to the established players in the CRM space.
From a cost perspective, Salesforce offers a variety of editions that can suit almost any business need. Salesforce divides its sales/marketing related tools from customer service related tools through its “Sales Cloud” and “Service Cloud” solutions. From a small and midsized business solution perspective, this makes Salesforce a bit more pricey than a similar solution from Microsoft Dynamics.
From a Social CRM perspective, Salesforce really gets it. I won’t go into too much detail here since Srini Katta covered it pretty well in his recent blog posted here. In a nutshell, Salesforce wins big here relative to the other major CRM vendors.
Salesforce only offers a cloud based offering. This makes it less customizable than some of the on-premise offerings and also could raise data security concerns depending upon a particular company’s industry. As organizations become more and more savvy, I think the data security concerns should fade away, but realistically, they are not gone yet. Until then, if you require that that your data must be housed behind your firewall, if you decide to use Salesforce, a hybrid approach may have to be taken where certain customer data is not housed in the Salesforce cloud.
From a customization perspective, depending on the school of thought, this is or is not a weakness. Some will argue that too much customization opens the door for muddled implementations and ignores the fact that there are some best practices that organization’s should try and adopt regardless of longstanding business processes. On the other side of the token, advocates for customization will make the argument that what makes certain businesses unique is their specific way of doing business. CRM solutions such as SAP and Oracle allow for a high level of customization to fit these specific needs.
Salesforce biggest weakness right now is when it comes to native integration with ERP. For many companies, particularly larger enterprises, with an existing ERP system, configuration of Salesforce to sync with their ERP solution could be costly.
Though they just announced a partnership with Infor, there currently exists no Salesforce ERP platform that allows for seamless integration. Time will tell if Infor will be able to provide a robust solution similar to SAP, Oracle or Microsoft’s ERP solutions. That being said, I wouldn’t necessarily bet against Salesforce because afterall, ten years ago, naysayers said that a cloud based CRM solution would never have a chance against the major players in the market.
Similar to the Ultimate Warrior, Salesforce.com brings a completely new look and approach to the market. It make not be the clear market leader right now, but it’s definitely in a head to head battle for that spot.
SAP – Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan was the WWF’s biggest star. Seemingly there from the beginning, I can’t remember a time when Hulk Hogan didn’t dominate. In 1990, however, we saw the first chinks in Hogan’s armor. For the first time, not only was there a viable challenger to his throne, but that challenger, the Ultimate Warrior, was also arguably getting more popular than Hogan as well. In this particular Royal Rumble, Hogan ended up winning, but an epic 1 on 1 showdown with the Ultimate Warrior was just around the corner.
SAP has dominated the CRM and ERP space for years. There are few solutions that spread across industry verticals on a global level in the same way that SAP CRM can. With both on-premise and cloud based offerings, SAP also offers a CRM solution for almost any sized business.
From an integration perspective, existing midsized and large enterprise SAP ERP customers can benefit from the seamless integration between SAP CRM and SAP ERP. Even for organizations that do not have robust CRM needs, but are already utilizing SAP ERP, SAP CRM may be a good fit for their organization. In particular, we’ve seen larger organizations benefit from an SAP CRM cloud based solution at a divisional level or implementing it for a recently acquired company.
When it comes to SAP, it is worth mentioning mobility because of their huge commitment to it. With its acquisition of Sybase in 2010, SAP has a strong platform for future mobile development. With a multitude of development partners, in addition to its own development work, one can expect SAP to really redefine how users interact with CRM on mobile devices.
From a cost perspective, SAP has built a reputation for being expensive. I don’t think this reputation is wholly justified. Large global implementations for large enterprises with a large number of customizations, is inevitably going to take a large amount of time and resources. Since SAP and Oracle are the two primary providers capable of such widespread implementations, they automatically get associated with high costs. This is not always the case. For example, and please excuse the shameless plug, our SAP in the Cloud offering starts at $99/user/month and is comparable with offerings from Salesforce.com. Though SAP’s on-premise product line have higher initial costs than Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics and Sugar CRM, without having the monthly subscription fees, their long term TCO is competitive.
On the social media side of things, SAP’s latest updates include a ton of social media integrations. SAP Sales OnDemand brings Facebook styled functionality to sales teams to provide a better platform for collaboration in addition social media insight into customers and prospects. I would have liked to see integration of these functionalities within both SAP’s CRM offerings for the enterprise and SME sector, however this does show a step in the right direction.
Though the video is old and the numbers are now completely different, this debate, between SAP’s co-founder Hasso Plattner and Salesforce.com’s founder Marc Benioff, was a signal of SAP’s initial slow adoption of the cloud.
If SAP has one weakness it could be its slow response to changing technology and consumer demands. This is most evident in SAP’s initial response to the cloud. While SAP now offers both on-premise and cloud based solutions, SAP’s dominance in the enterprise space, initially translated to a somewhat slow transition to the cloud. With new technologies and user demands changing constantly, for SAP to remain a market leader it must respond to customer demands fast. Its longstanding dominance and successful track record will ensure that SAP will be a major player in this space, but whether or not it maintains its lead will be determined by the company’s ability to respond to change.
So who won the 1990 Royal Rumble? Hulk Hogan won but less than 6 months later, the Ultimate Warrior beat the Hulkster in a head to head match up in Wrestlemania VI. What does this tell us about SAP v. Salesforce? Not much, except that you can’t count either out when it comes to a comparison.
Brian Rikuda, EVP iServiceGlobe
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