Back in the early 1980s, virtually every office that was not still producing reports and correspondence on a typewriter had a word-processing software called WordPerfect. It was a DOS application that was actually quite revolutionary for its time, and it was the “king” of the market for years.
Then came Microsoft Windows and MS Word. The neatly integrated suite of software, which eventually included Excel, Access, Outlook, and PowerPoint, took over the market. Despite releasing a Windows-based version, WordPerfect faded from view. Although an iOS app still exists, it is basically just a remote connection to a hosted WordPerfect session.
You might be wondering how this story relates to Salesforce and SAP Cloud. If you look a bit closer, you can see the parallels between SAP Cloud/WordPerfect for Windows and Salesforce/Microsoft.
- WordPerfect, like SAP, found itself left behind by the release of a better option.
- Salesforce, like Microsoft products, has been built “from the ground up” to maximize integration of all components.
- WordPerfect for Windows was Corel’s attempt to repackage its product to accommodate changing demands from customers. SAP Cloud is a similar effort.
- In the early days of Word versus WordPerfect for Windows, both products seemed to be viable alternatives. As more users began to realize the benefits of having a suite of fully integrated applications with the power of Microsoft behind them, however, WordPerfect fell into obscurity.
When SAP Cloud was announced, many enterprises using SAP for ERP thought that it might make sense to move their CRM from Salesforce to SAP Cloud. However, there are some valid reasons not to do this.
- The Salesforce user interface is much less complex and easier to learn. Furthermore, Salesforce offers better training support should employees require more assistance than you can provide yourself.
- Integrating Salesforce with a legacy back-end system is less complicated, which means lower implementation costs. Full integration means that every department can benefit from Salesforce.
- Salesforce has a huge number of pre-made apps that can be used to customize your Salesforce experience more economically. This is due in part to the availability of developers’ tools and open access to documentation that Salesforce offers developers. SAP, on the other hand, has virtually all documentation hidden away in files that require payment to access. Much customization in SAP Cloud will need to be done by professional developers, so if your staff cannot handle it, you will need to budget money to hire a technology firm or contractor.
- With the release of Salesforce Analytics, customers have access to easy-to-use, powerful tools that can provide enterprise-wide benefits. So far, SAP’s HANA is regarded as inferior, with less functionality and a more difficult-to-use interface.
- Licensing fees vary as they depend on a number of factors. However, if you compare “apples to apples,” Salesforce is a more economical solution.
- Maintaining Salesforce can also be more economical than a SAP solution. Salesforce makes a wide range of training manuals and online classes available so that your employees can “scale up” quickly and easily. This allows you to support your own end users without having to hire outside help.
- Should you need to engage an outside contractor, you will likely have far less trouble finding a qualified Salesforce developer than a qualified SAP developer. SAP does not make it particularly easy for developers to earn certification, while Salesforce has chosen to go in the opposite direction and make it easy for developers to acquire new skills.
Salesforce became the industry leader for good reasons. The release of SAP Cloud is not likely to “unseat the king.” In terms of cost, ease of use and flexibility, Salesforce wins against SAP Cloud, just as MS Word won the battle with WordPerfect for Windows.