After all the Salesforce.com bashing in my last post, you’re probably wondering why I do like it, and I’ll tell you, Salesforce advantages are pretty compelling. First of all, it really has the flexibility to do just about anything you need it to do, whether you’re viewing it as a custom user-interface, configuration, integration or an object association. I have yet to encounter a business process in a company that Salesforce either couldn’t do natively if you knew how to configure it or that couldn’t be easily integrated into one of the custom applications that already exist for that particular process.
It also has very powerful development for configuration and reporting that includes a dashboard framework that doesn’t require any coding, which is great because I’m not a developer or a coder. I can barely scrape together HTML codes if I need to, yet I can do some incredibly powerful and real time edits, modifications and customizations of Salesforce through a drag-and-drop and graphic user-interface tool, which is pretty impressive.
Adding to Salesforce advantages, it falls under the category of a multidimensional relational database, which is a fancy way of saying it’s got a lot of powerful databases that are all knitted together and can be associated in dynamic and flexible ways. From a purely technological and architectural standpoint, this sets it apart from a lot of the tools out there. Salesforce works from what is called an object model, wherein each of the tabs or characteristics in Salesforce such as opportunities, accounts, etc., are stand alone objects that are customizable and editable, but then they’re also configurable in that they can be associated with multiple other objects. Architecturally, that’s just something that not a lot of other CRM’s or CRM applications can even do, which makes it a pretty impressive technological feat.
Next, Salesforce has a very deep and expansive portfolio of integrated applications, so almost any other ancillary application that you would need in the sales process, from territory geo-mapping, to quotient configuration, to inventory controls, to billing, are already integrated to Salesforce. Since they are the 500 pound gorilla in this world that have been doing this for arguably the longest in the SaaS world, you know they have the deepest sets of relationships with folks who are using their application to integrate to it.
Finally, from an infrastructure and security standpoint, they have a world class set up. I work predominately with companies that make between $1-$10 million in revenue per year, and I love when they ask: Can Salesforce keep my data safe? Can they back it up? The answer, of course, is yes. A good portion of the Fortune 500 companies use this, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be okay.
One last element as to what I like about Salesforce is that there are a lot of aspects to the tool that allow me, as a developer or as an administrator, to drive compliance. Technology, as I said, is a tool to help reinforce and embody the process we’re using. The degree to which that tool helps the company to drive compliance is dependent upon the aspects of the process or technology we’re using so that marketing people see marketing information, financial people see financial information, salespeople see sales information, etc. We can achieve this by creating inventory fields, validation rules, dependent rules, and various configurable presentations based on roles so that we have role based user presentation, and that is even more incredibly powerful stuff.
Now that I’ve pointed out Salesforce advantages and disadvantages, you’re probably asking yourself what key things you should be focusing on as you implement it since contrary to popular belief, setting up Salesforce is not an intuitive process. My next blog is entirely devoted to that very topic, so please read on for more Salesforce implementation tips…
By Townsend Wardlaw