A few years ago, it was easy to compare Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Salesforce.com. The first offered on-premise (or in-house) deployment, while the other offered software as a service (SaaS) or cloud deployment. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM now available in the cloud, however, that comparison is no longer valid. While the two once occupied slightly separate areas of the same market, they are now full competitors.
For Microsoft, the move into the cloud was necessary, since Salesforce was a competitor, even from the cloud. Salesforce is squarely entrenched in the cloud, claiming that their cloud solutions would eventually replace traditional enterprise software. By "traditional" we mean software that runs on your local computer, uses your operating system as a foundation, and is deployed onto in-house computers or servers. Microsoft asserts that the on-premise model for software is far from dead and that SaaS should be used to enhance traditional software rather than replace it.
Because of Microsoft's more inclusive philosophy, you are not limited to the cloud or to the single configuration model of Salesforce. Instead, you can mix and match on-demand and on-premise deployments depending on your needs and adjust them as your business needs evolve. With Salesforce, if you ever decide to shift from the cloud to an on-premise solution, you must completely change to another CRM software option.
Although there is a perception that Saleforce services cost less, the actual numbers indicate otherwise. According to estimates for total cost in the US, Microsoft Dynamics CRM online averages about $44 to $59 per user, per month, while Salesforce Professional Edition runs $125. Less expensive editions of Salesforce do not offer the customization features comparable to Dynamics CRM.
One area in which Microsoft Dynamics CRM truly excels above Salesforce is its familiarity and ease of use. It is designed to be similar-looking and compatible with Microsoft Office and Outlook. While it may seem like a flimsy reason to choose software, because it looks familiar, the reality in business is that new software requires more extensive training, which raises cost and employee resistance to change. Microsoft Dynamics CRM also offers real integration with desktop software like Office and Outlook, making the user work flow feel more seamless and natural.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers offline access so that users can continue working , even in disconnected environments. Salesforce requires an online connection to work, and offline access is only available in the more expensive editions.
With Salesforce .com there is an online storage limit of 1GB or 120/MB per user for the unlimited plan, whereas Dynamics CRM offers dedicated databases with 5GB to 20GB for storage. Going beyond Salesforce's tight storage restrictions will result in additional fees.
The other consideration to make is whether SaaS is truly the wave of the future that companies like Google and Salesforce hope it will be. Right now, the numbers indicate that businesses have not adopted it en masse, although it has gained attention. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, customers retain the ability to move their data to on-premise deployments, should the online service operations cease. With Salesforce.com, an end to their on-demand services means an end to your use of their software.
So don’t get stuck in the clouds if you decide you don’t want to be there. Choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM and have the choice to have your data in the clouds or at your location.
Have you had the experience of trying to move out of the clouds? Let us know about it.
By CRM Software Blog Staff. Find a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Expert