MS Dynamics vs. Salesforce.com

sfdc vs 365

Solomon Consulting Group has completed the following comparison of Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

The information provided here is intended to help business make informed decisions with regard to the direction they take within the CRM space.

Our approach here is to provide as much information as possible and to keep this analysis a statement of facts.

Our analysis focuses on out of the box core functionality and features within both applications. We have limited the number of references to third party products to avoid confusing that will read this analysis.

With continuous improvement to each product, there will be certain feature/functionality information that will eventually be out of date. Pricing plans, as an example, are in an ongoing state of change.

Company Background

Salesforce.com

  • Salesforce was founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff, who was a former executive with Oracle Corporation.
  • Salesforce went public June 2004.
  • com was one of the early pioneers in developing the software as a service space (SaaS) which is now commonly referred to as cloud computing.
  • The company has stated that it has over 150,000 CRM customers.
  • Salesforce is traded on the NYSE under the symbol CRM.

Microsoft Corporation

  • Microsoft was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
  • Microsoft is known for its Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of software products.
  • Microsoft SQL Server is used as the database back end for Microsoft Dynamics 365.
  • Microsoft has also developed consumer hardware products such as the Zune and Xbox.
  • Microsoft has expanded to the Web with products such as the Bing Search Engine.
  • In 2012, Microsoft acquired Yammer, the developer of a popular enterprise collaboration application of the same name.
  • In 2016, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn.
  • In June of 2018, Microsoft announced the acquisition of GitHub.
  • Microsoft Corporation is traded on NASDAQ under the symbol MSFT.

Product Overview

Salesforce

  • Salesforce only offers its product as a hosted, subscription model. It does not offer an on-premises version.
  • Salesforce is available on a shared instance (multi-tenant) platform. There are no options for a dedicated instance or a dedicated server.
  • com has achieved high scalability and for a variety of reasons has split its offering into multiple instances.
  • com has acquired a number of other technology companies in the CRM and social media space
    • Jigsaw
    • Radian6
    • Buddy Media
    • Assistly
    • Heroku
    • ExactTarget
    • SteelBrick
    • DemandWare
    • Mulesoft
    • Tableau
  • Internally, Salesforce developed a collaboration product called Chatter.
  • Chatter is available within every Salesforce edition at no extra charge.

New Releases

  • Salesforce has three major new releases each year.
  • Customers do not have to pay extra for new releases.
  • Salesforce provides detailed release notes in advance of each new release.

Editions and Pricing

  • Salesforceʼs Sales Cloud is available in four different editions. The Lightning editions are the same underlying product, with specific features and functionality either switched on or off, depending on the edition.
  • The minimum contract term is 12 months.
  • A longer term commitment, such as 24 or 36 months, can result in lower pricing.
  • Salesforce.org provides free and/or deeply discounted licenses to certain categories of organizations such as 501(c)(3) corporations and B corporations.
Salesforce.com Essentials Professional Enterprise Unlimited
General pricing $25/month/user $75/month/user $150/month/user $300/month/user

Data Storage

  • All editions of Salesforce have a minimum of 1GB of data storage or 20MB times the number of users, whichever is higher.
  • Lower editions of Salesforce have 10GB of document storage or 612MB times the number of users, whichever is higher.
  • Enterprise Edition and higher have the 10GB base or 2GB times the number of users.
  • Each record in most Salesforce objects uses 2 KB of storage.
  • Additional data storage can be purchased in 50 MB or 500 MB increments.
  • Additional file storage can be purchased in 10GB increments.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

  • Microsoft has two main versions of its product, Microsoft Dynamics CRM (available via on-premises or private cloud) and Microsoft Dynamics 365 (available via cloud). (NOTE: MS Dynamics 365 is the focus of this analysis)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 is multi-tenant at the application level, but single tenant on the database level (each account has its own SQL Server database).

New Releases

  • Microsoft has two releases annually with service updates as required.
  • Microsoft has a Whatʼs New page with a link to a downloadable release notes PDF.
  • Customers do not have to pay extra for new releases.

 Editions and Pricing

  • Dynamics 365 for Sales pricing is as follows:
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan Unified Operations Plan Dynamics 365 Plan
General Pricing $115/month/user $190/month/user $210/month/user

Data Centers

Salesforce

  • Salesforceʼs service is collocated in multiple, top-tier global data centers.
  • Salesforce publishes its data center security information on its trust.salesforce.com site.
  • Salesforce does not own the data centers in which its customers are hosted. According to Salesforce, “Weʼll continue to work with a variety of infrastructure technology vendors and partners across its own data centers, as well as new public cloud-based data centers, in order to deliver the best service possible to customers.”
  • com does not have a publicly accessible Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Microsoft Dynamics 365

  • Microsoft has a Trust Center site for Dynamics 365 and other product lines.
  • The site provides information on security, privacy, compliance, transparency, and data center geographic regions.
  • Microsoft has its own data centers.

Mobile CRM

Salesforce

  • Salesforce mobile device platform is called “The Salesforce Mobile App.”
  • Salesforce publishes an app for iOS and one for Android.
  • Salesforce apps can be built and customized and then deployed to mobile devices using the Salesforce Mobile Platform.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

  • Microsoft offers both iOS and Android apps.
  • The mobile app can be configured to display specific forms, fields and entities, including custom entities.

3rd Party Application Ecosystem

In many cases business requirements will drive the need for functionality that is only offered by third party applications. Salesforce and Microsoft allow for running third party applications natively within their platforms.

Salesforce

  • Salesforce manages its own 3rd party application site called AppExchange.
  • The AppExchange also has applications from its internal organization called Salesforce Labs.
  • All applications must be certified and must pass a security check.
  • Some are free and some are paid.
  • Not all applications are compatible with all editions of Salesforce. For example, many apps require Lightning Professional or higher.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

  • Microsoftʼs version of AppExchange is called AppSource.
  • AppSource covers different Microsoft product lines including Dynamics 365, Power BI, Office 365 and Azure.
  • Microsoft also has an internal app development team similar to Salesforce Labs.

Sales & Delivery Channels

The way each product is sold by Salesforce and Microsoft will factor into the evaluation and buying process.

Salesforce

  • Salesforce is sold directly to customers via a team of account executives and people in specific sales roles.
  • Account Executives normally team up with a Salesforce partner when implementation services are requested by a prospect.
  • Salesforce partners do not receive commission on license sales, even for deals they source.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

  • Depending on the company size, a customer will either be directed to an inside salesperson or a dedicated new customer resource as the first point of contact.
  • The salesperson gets a partner involved on deals that represent over a minimum annual subscription revenue.
  • A Microsoft partner that is brought into a deal by an inside salesperson or who initiates the deal will typically receive commission on the sale.
  • Microsoft offers one level of commission for the first year of subscription revenue and a lesser commission for subsequent yearsʼ of subscription revenue.
  • Major account deals are handled by a Microsoft salesperson.

Implementation Partner Selection

Selecting the right partner is as important as selecting the right vendor. CRM implementation partners often specialize in specific industries.

Examples of industries include: Education, healthcare, life sciences, financial services, manufacturing, high tech, and non-profit.

It is important to find the right partner in terms of skills, responsiveness, geography and approach. It is ultimately the partner chosen that will enable your organization to reach its CRM aspirations.

NOTE: Solomon Consulting Group has certified developers and administrators in both Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365 and have deep credentials in education.

Login and Password Security

IT executives are concerned with data breaches especially in the realm of cloud computing. It is important to understand each technology vendors’ security models and options. The following is a high level overview of Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365.

Salesforce

  • Salesforce defaults to two factor authentication for all users.
  • Two factor authentication can be overridden by setting up Trusted IP Ranges by the system administrator.
  • In the editions Enterprise and higher, specific IP ranges can be restricted from login access as defined within the user Profile.
  • Salesforce offers a mobile app called Salesforce Authenticator which is available on iOS and Android. This app provides greater security than email or SMS based two factor authentication.
  • Salesforce allows for setting password policies, including password expiration duration, how many old passwords are remembered, minimum password length, and password complexity.
  • Salesforce supports authentication via identity providers like Active Directory with the implementation of single sign-on.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 users login using their Microsoft Office 365 credentials.
  • An administrator can set up authentication for users in the Office 365 administration area.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be synched with Active Directory.
  • A subscription to Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium, access to MS Dynamics 365 can be set to users with trusted IP addresses.

 

More insights to come on the comparison between these two players in the CRM space.

A version of this article first appeared in the Harvard Business Review Reading the NY Times article “Jeffrey Katzenberg Raises $1 Billion for Short-Form Video Venture,” I realized it was time for a new startup heuristic: the amount of customer discovery and product-market fit you need to find is inversely proportional to the amount and availability of […]

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