Many business and technology consultants are being asked by their clients to provide guidance or thought leadership around creating or moving business applications to the Cloud. We work with many consultants who want to have a better understanding of Force.com so they can make recommendations to their clients about creating or migrating enterprise business solutions in the Cloud.
What I’m finding is that many don’t really know what Force.com is and what it’s capable of. I also find that it’s hard for clients to make sense of much of the marketing information that’s available from Salesforce.com. This is my observation, not a criticism, about the source of some of this confusion.
In my opinion there are two major issues driving questions from clients and consultants.
First. Salesforce.com sells their Sales and Service Cloud for roughly $125 /user/month for their Enterprise edition. Clients often buy Enterprise if they want the option to integrate with other systems using API calls or want to be able to customize Salesforce using Apex and Visualforce. These options are not available in the Professional edition of Sales and Service Cloud. This means that many clients end up buying Sales Cloud Enterprise at $125 because Professional at $65 does not give them the flexibility they need.
In my experience, I have found many clients that don’t need all the Sales & Service options they pay for and this often drives them to look at less expensive options and in some cases other tools like Sugar or Zoho.
Second. Sales & Service clouds are ONLY sold by Salesforce.com direct sales force while OEM and Value Added Resellers sell solutions that are built on Force.com. This doesn’t mean that Salesforce.com’s direct team doesn’t also sell Force.com, but it’s been my experience that most direct sales people are more familiar selling Sales & Service cloud because for many years Salesforce.com did not have a channel. Additionally, Force.com sells for $50 vs. $125.
Obviously an intelligent reader’s first question is going to be ‘what’s the major difference between Force.com at $50 and Sales Cloud at $125?’. This is a very good question.
In the following video, Introducing Force.com, I go into some detail about the differences between Sales Cloud and Force.com. For my reader’s I will summarize it very briefly.
Force.com is essentially the “Platform” or development environment on which everything else at Salesforce.com is built on. This means the Core Database, Customizable User Interface, Customizable Programming (Apex & Visualforce), Security, etc.
Force.com does NOT include what Salesforce.com calls their Sales and Service objects. These are Leads, Campaigns, Opportunities, Products, & Contracts. These standard objects are very useful and powerful and are not available in Force.com, however, more and more clients realize they need a tool that allows them to build what they need for their business rather than using off the shelf objects.
Force.com is a great solution for these clients. Force.com is also very easy to customize and configure so it’s usually a few hours of consulting to create exactly what the client needs.
Many of these clients find that it makes more sense to do some lite configuration of Force.com to give them the features they need and not pay for the features they don’t. They also find that buying Force.com at $50 vs. $125 gives them quite a bit of budget maneuvering room.
As you will see in the video I mentioned above, Force.com has much more capability included than is excluded. That said, it’s very helpful to talk through the business issue you’re trying to solve to see what approach makes the most sense.
I hope this answers a few questions and opens increases your comfort level with Force.com
If you would like to talk further just schedule a call with me and we can discuss your unique situation.