Friday, April 20, 2012
SalesForce.com Why Not?
I stumbled upon this article http://www.blackcloudbsg.com/article/buying_salesforce_com_why_and_why_not/ A good read all on its own and while I may not agree totally with every thing the author says, it did get me thinking about Open 4 Business Online. Here is a high level point by point review. See my Ollie>> comments for each. " If you’re small, or the price of enterprise edition seems awfully hard to stomach, salesforce is likely not for you." Ollie>> Oh yes, and at $125/user/month, that's a gall stone. O4BO @$50/user/month for the full suite of Liferay, OpenBravo, Pentaho and JackRabbit is a killer deal. " Salesforce.com is highly customizable, but I also wouldn’t recommend pure force.com application development." Ollie>> Since all 4 of O4BO are open source and already have a large number of plugins and standards based environments, you could easily write your own applications and share the O4BO data, and even market to other O4BO subscribers. " Put simply, you can’t build a startup charging people by the month for software that is fantastically expensive to develop in the first place while maintaining enough cash flow to build a sales team and grow aggressively, without requiring continued injections of new investment." Ollie>> Since O4BO doesn't have to recover development costs other than converting to SaaS, O4BO can pass those savings on to its subscribers. " So you really can’t build complex software that works for every business out there.... Enter Apex, Visualforce, and the Force.com eco-system. Specifically, enter an arrangement where you will be hiring developers to build on salesforce’s proprietary platform which means you’re kind of locked in to keeping salesforce.com as a partner and the cost of switching (if you ever do) comes to include porting over your force.com applications to whatever the new new thing turns out to be." Ollie>> Orange and Bronze is already making a good business out of customizing and custom software projects, that will only accelerate when O4BO starts getting subscribers that have customization needs. Plus it isn't a proprietary platform or database and subscribers can always take their data and move, reducing their risk and if the O4BO value proposition is always positive people may choose O4BO for the low risk and stay for the value. " Salesforce.com really couldn’t have predicted the way open source software would take off and the extent to which “the cloud” would take over. " Ollie>> i.e. O4BO doesn't have to predict. Open Source, easily extended with non proprietary tools and starting life on the IBM Smart cloud without investment in server farms or data centers. "... salesforce.com as a platform would be amazing if great open source software and Amazon Web Services did not exist. " Ollie>> Ah but they do...;-) " salesforce.com is easy enough for a non-programmer to figure out. Force.com is not. And, if you’re already a programmer, why would you use Force.com when there are better tools out there?" Ollie>> I wouldn't, neither would the thousands that every month download Open Source solutions like Liferay, OpenBravo, Pentaho and JackRabbit. " Should you buy salesforce.com... if you do buy salesforce, buy Enterprise edition. The lower editions are fundamentally crippled (for example, they don’t provide API access, which is crazy for a modern software application)." Ollie>> O4BO can offer so much more at a price less than half that of SF.com/ee and because it is open source and community supported, other integrations like SugarCRM are available at no additional cost. " If you have any custom requirements (IE, if your business is not built around salesforce.com’s prescribed workflow) you’ll likely end up hiring a company like mine, and you’ll pay a significant amount of money for customization—for taking salesforce that extra 20% further that makes 80% of the difference." Ollie>> Orange and Bronze can do customizations and whole solutions for a lot less given the open source of O4BO equalling much higher value to the customer which will aid in retention and word of mouth advertising. " While it may seem like I’m coming down hard on force.com as a platform, my issue is mostly with Apex, Visualforce, and governor limits—there’s simply better options out there. Salesforce.com knows this, as evidenced by their $250 million Heroku acquisition." Ollie>> The Better Options out there include O4BO.