Microsoft Gold Cloud CRM and Gold Cloud Platform Partner

If you have digested the previous three posts, it really comes down to a few key points.

Which Way is the Wind Blowing?

Politics is always involved. You are likely to have someone in a decision-making capacity that already has a bias going into the game; or a consultant might be the one possessing a hidden bias you are unable to detect. The truth be told, I am quite impressed with Salesforce, but I appreciate the fact that there are cases where Dynamics is by far the better fit.

palm trees

If you are responsible for doing the research, and the clear choice for your company is not in line with what IT or the executives want, it’s going to be a tough battle. The best way to overcome objections is to have the vendor develop prototypes. Take a fairly simple and yet critical scenario and have the vendors prototype it. In tech terms, a prototype is worth a thousand words.

Resources

This goes back to the Microsoft argument. Unless your company already uses Salesforce in another department, you will not have Salesforce certified administrators and developers on staff. This means that either you need to rely on consultants or hire personnel with Salesforce experience. What you do not want to do is throw your current folks into Salesforce training and expect them to be proficient in a month or two.

Is this a nail in the coffin for Salesforce? Not at all. Even if you have developers who know JavaScript, C# and everything else necessary to work with Dynamics, this only addresses the customization aspect. Planning and configuration, which really should be done under the guidance of a consultant, is absolutely necessary for a successful implementation regardless of platform.

During the implementation process the consultants can do the customization work if any is required. While this is being done your current IT staff will still need to learn how JavaScript and coding is implemented in Dynamics or learn from scratch how to use Visualforce, Apex and other Salesforce tools.

The one thing Salesforce has over Microsoft in the learning area is something called Trailhead. It is the most interactive training program I have seen and it is absolutely free. In my opinion this levels the playing field – even if your current IT staff are Microsoft platform experts.

On-Premise

While I feel my arguments for the cloud in a previous post are compelling, we return once again to politics. If your IT department is adamant that all applications must be on premise and the decision makers are easily swayed by IT, you may very well be working with Dynamics. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, but it may or may not be the best fit for your company.

The Companies

In 2015 Salesforce was ranked as the sixth largest software company and the largest enterprise cloud company in the world. True, it is dwarfed by the size of Microsoft. But don’t forget that 100% of Salesforce is CRM, and only a fraction of Microsoft is dedicated to Dynamics.

skyscraper

Another measure is market share. In 2015 Salesforce boasted a 18.4% market share compared to Microsoft at 6.2%. Much of this rise came at the expense of Oracle and SAP. While those two declined, Microsoft has actually gained a slight amount of market share.

Why do I think this is important? I have watched both Salesforce and Dynamics for the last two years. Salesforce has experienced tremendous gains in popularity and shows no signs of “resting on its laurels.” The rate at which Salesforce rolls out significant new features and enhancements is astounding and Microsoft doesn’t even come close with Dynamics.

Sure, you are going to be paying a premium for Salesforce, but in my opinion it is an investment in the future.

So, What’s it Going to Be?

Yes, please feel free to call me biased, even if I politely disagree. The dictionary definition of biased is “unfairly prejudiced for or against someone or something.” I don’t believe that is the case here. My arguments have a logical basis. I started out consulting on Microsoft Dynamics and to this day it represents the majority of what I do. Only later did I get involved with Salesforce.

Just because there are a lot of good arguments for Salesforce and I am truly impressed with the company and the platform, it does not change a simple fact: Dynamics is a solid, and in many ways, an exceptional product. If your exploratory process is thorough, and the two platforms are realistically viewed in relation to your needs, it may very well be that Dynamics is the clear choice. We work with many clients who prefer the Microsoft “look and feel” and want to have complete development control over the interface and environment. These folks have absolutely no interest in Salesforce.

The key is to do your homework – and don’t go into the decision-making process without a consultant who knows both environments and actively works with them.