CRM System Comparison: How The ‘Big Four’ CRM Providers Stack Up

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CRM System Cpmparison

The CRM industry has long been the battle zone of numerous CRM for startups that are fighting it out to secure their places in this highly competitive market but it has always been the big 4 CRM providers –   Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP, who are dominating the industry. It is strange that these big 4 CRM System providers are working on 4 vastly different platforms but experts still pit one against the other citing they are CRM based company but this is totally wrong.

Now, as obvious, each of these big 4 CRM companies and their products have their own advantages and complications. So, if you are planning to purchase a CRM product and are totally clueless about it, you need to compare these products. To make your task easier, here we are going to analyze these CRM systems individually so that you can a well-informed decision –

Salesforce

Salesforce has a remarkable journey so far. The company has a very humble beginning. The owner of the company Marc Benioff started it in his small apartment after resigning from Oracle in the year 1999 and soon, he transformed and scaled it to a massive corporate conglomerate. Currently, Salesforce is considered as a $60 billion company and its CRM solution is being used by Fortune 100 companies and other industry giants. Marc Benioff’s idea of allowing people to buy a CRM package for a particular period of time rather than paying a high upfront cost has transformed the CRM industry and made it possible for small companies to afford the immense benefits offered by CRM system. His idea was later adopted by almost CRM companies. So far, Salesforce has been setting new trends in the CRM industry by revamping its applications and by making CRM solutions more affordable and access to general people.

Pros

  • Unlike other CRM based companies that have created too many products inadvertently than what it can handle and then making a complete mess out of it, Salesforce is making continuous strive to make its existing products better and customers centric. Its popular products get updated on regular basis and a dedicated team is there to fix the bugs and add more features in them so that these products continue to attract the attention of the targeted customers.
  • Its CRM can be deployed and used without going through a long and tiring development process and this is good for those who want to use its products without any delay. However, companies who are planning to build something complex can utilize its amazing platform and launch their product without facing any hiccup at all. It has all the flexibility and features you need to launch a highly complex and features rich application.
  • Salesforce offers a self-sustaining and self-operating platform and that means, you can start using its SaaS products as soon as you make the payment.

Cons

  • The main problem that plagues Salesforce is the lack of commitment from its internal IT team. They are unlikely to make any changes in their products even if the majority of their customers are unhappy with it. Another major problem with Salesforce is that it releases at least three updates of its product in a year and that means, you will have to check three times a year whether the upgraded version of Salesforce product is not affecting your products in an adverse way.  Should there a problem arise, the IT team will not make any attempt to defer the upgrade and that means, you will have to figure it out all by yourself what to do to fix the problem.
  • Salesforce needs to do something to improve business intelligence (BI) functionality of its SaaS products. There are way too many licensing structures should anyone wants to purchase some additional add-ons like Lead Scoring, Marketing Automation etc.

Pricing

Salesforce’s pricing model is very simple and straightforward. Price of its packages depends on the level of access to its product and platforms. The higher the access level, the expensive the package is. However, if you are a small or medium sized business, you don’t have to go for its expensive packages because you enjoy all the features of Salesforce’s products by opting for any of these two license structures – Lightning Unlimited or Lightning Enterprise. You don’t have to check all the features of all its different pricing models. Just look for the features that your business needs and then make the final call. Sales Cloud, the crown jewel of Salesforce, is available at $150 per user and the charge can go up to $300 per user depending the usage level and features.

Oracle

Oracle is a familiar name in the database and enterprise software industry because of its immense popularity among its core users base. It is interesting to note that Oracle’s CRM solution hit the market in the same year Salesforce was incorporated. It may look like a coincidence but there is no such thing as coincidence in the IT industry. However, it did not develop its CRM solution from the scratch rather it bought two CRM companies – UpShot and Siebel Systems and then repackages their products and started offering CRM solutions to its customers.

Pros

We need to accept one thing that we all trust Oracle and it rarely fails to deliver on promises. Security is hardly a concern when you are using CRM solution provided by Oracle. It has employed the highest level of encryption possible in multiple points to make its applications 100{4b8db105d51fc49c1c727c21ad8f1560ea0d09dcad6eb0845e46ab84b524419d} safe and secure. So, if your application need premium level of security or your product tend to get targeted by hackers every now and then, you need to opt for Oracle’s CRM solution.

Another advantage of Oracle’s CRM solution is that it comes preloaded with features that other CRM providers don’t offer for free. You will have to fork out extra amount to use those extra features. So, if you don’t want to pay some extra bucks, Oracle’s CRM solution is the best bet for you.

Cons

  • One of the major disadvantages of Oracle CRM solution is it does not offer any support when it comes to Gmail synchronization. Its mobile support is exclusively available to iPhone and BlackBerry and that means a good number of Android users will not be able to harness its mobile functionalities. So, if your team is using mostly latest technologies, Oracle CRM suite might not be the perfect choice.
  • To be honest, CRM is not a core product of Oracle, at least this is what we can infer from its activities. Its CRM system does not get updated on a regular basis and that means, the system might lag behind in certain time due to the delay in the release of its latest version.
  • It is strange that Oracle’s CRM suite does not look like an app at all; rather it looks like a database and probably this has something to do with Oracle’s origin which can be traced back to database. Database lies at the core of Oracle and therefore, it will always get preferential treatment from Oracle.

Pricing

Oracle’s pricing model is highly competitive and is probably the best in the CRM industry. Its Unlimited Package gives you access to all its features and you just need to pay $160 per user. Does not that sound amazing to you?

Microsoft

Without a shadow of doubt, Microsoft is the biggest name in the sphere of software development and therefore, it is hardly a surprise that they are also trying to dominate the lucrative CRM industry. However, it is strange that in spite dominating the software industry with its flagship products like Windows and MS Office Suite, it did not enter the CRM industry as late as 2003. But that does not mean, Microsoft is going to play a second fiddle to its main rivals in the industry namely – Oracle and Salesforce. Its main CRM product is Microsoft Dynamics and it is currently holding a market share of 5{4b8db105d51fc49c1c727c21ad8f1560ea0d09dcad6eb0845e46ab84b524419d}. Microsoft has made several attempts to boost its market share; it has made 7 major iterations so far since the release of its CRM software application but its market share is still no sign of any major improvement.

Pros

  • Flexibility lies at the core of Microsoft Dynamics. Its dashboard can be customized at will and it can be easily integrated with hundreds and thousands of open source applications available in Microsoft Dynamics Communities.
  • Microsoft Dynamics can be integrated seamlessly with other MS applications; Embedding it with MS Outlook is a breeze and it allows offline integration with its MS Excel. So, if you are fan of MS Office, Microsoft Dynamics is the right CRM solution for you.
  • Two different versions are available for Microsoft Dynamics users – one is On-Premises version and another one is SaaS-based version. So, depending your requirement, you can choose the version that suits your needs.

Cons

  • The on-premises version of Microsoft Dynamics is a bit complex and that means, your customer support team might face some teething problems. Of course, Microsoft Dynamics is flexible but to utilize its flexibility, your Customer Support team first have to get the hang of it.
  • Microsoft is mainly focusing on its ERP products and that means, there will be fewer updates allocated for its CRM products. You just to deal with it that way.

Pricing

Microsoft Dynamics has totally different pricing model based on the version you choose. Online Version of Microsoft Dynamic has one pricing model whereas the On-Premises version has another pricing model. The pricing model of its Online Version is very much similar to that of its competitors. The package starts at $30 for small business organizations whereas $200 per user for the more advance users who need to access to its powerful features and applications.

SAP

The tremendous growth of the CRM sector has enticed the biggest enterprise architecture software company SAP to join the bandwagon. Initially, it seems that SAP was not that much convinced about the prospect of CRM but later it scaled up its operation. It started offering CRM solution in 2005 but not until the year 2013 that SAP got serious about it. In the year 2013, SAP acquired Hybris and it enabled it to add some existing features to its CRM product like – simplified billing process, marketing suite and numerous features for eCommerce websites.

As of now, SAP continues to hold 13{4b8db105d51fc49c1c727c21ad8f1560ea0d09dcad6eb0845e46ab84b524419d} of the total CRM market share but its market position has eroded significantly because of inroads made by its two main competitors – Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

Pros

Its On-Premise package is suitable for those who don’t want to pay a large amount of money for a monthly basis.

Its CRM solution comes loaded with Analytics and BI and thus making life easier for customer support team. No need to install any plugins or application with it because it has everything available right in its dashboard.

If you are looking for a robust and features rich free CRM solution, you should opt for SAP. Be it marketing, sales or service, SAP CRM solution can help you in every possible way.

Cons

  • Its problem resolution takes a while and which is why you could come across angry customer reviews on SAP’s CRM solution.
  • SAP’s CRM applications are not well optimized for mobile usage.
  • Compared to other players, SAP CRM’s interface is not that much intuitive and users friendly.

 

Pricing

SAP’s pricing model is almost similar to that of its main rivals. The most popular package is $145 per user which is quite affordable.

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