Highly customizable is both a plus and minus.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
October 24, 2012

Highly customizable is both a plus and minus.

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Review Source

Software Version

Unlimited edition

Modules Used

  • Sales Cloud
  • Chatter
  • Partner portal
  • Content
  • Customer portal

Overall Satisfaction

  • It is highly customizable and flexible to any business process. However, that can also be a downfall. Salesforce.com will reflect the maturity or lack of maturity in a business process. It forces a business to have a systematic, reliable, repeatable process in order to get the best metrics and use out of Salesforce. Getting the end to end process mapped out and systemized is the hardest part.
  • Chatter/ collaboration is great.
  • They are trying to be on the cutting edge of flattening out a file structure although not everyone is keen for it. It makes adopting hard.
  • The AppExchange – the ability to quickly install and configure a 3rd party app. This does complicate life for our developer though. The developer community is a real benefit for Salesforce as they’ll never perfect all modules.
  • It won’t allow you to make it fail. They protect their system. You cannot install something that will bring down the system.
  • Customization means that it’s hard to compare across companies. It makes M&A challenging as there's no standardization. It would be good to have exposure to customization via a visualization. They have started to do that but they only have a rough model right now. It would aid with getting a quick understanding of what's been done.
  • Content management - content in Salesforce.com is impossible to manage. There are so many separate modules that try to manage content that don’t talk to each other. Chatter has own structure. Content has own structure. It’s a nightmare. While they are not in the content management space, the disparate options on content uploading/ attaching are problematic. It’s something they absolutely have to fix. I know it is on their roadmap. It causes the most frustration and churn. Search doesn’t reveal all content. Chatter Free edition is good, but exposes files in Chatter only and not across the board, creating duplication. With the new Chatter roadmap, they are going to incorporate a DropBox functionality though I believe it will complicate things further. We have mistakenly tried to use their content module as a CMS, when it wasn’t intended to be.
  • Analytics/ trend-analysis. One of our teams uses Cloud9. The trending/analysis part built into Salesforce.com is extremely limited. We are heading towards using a data extracts onto a SQL server and Tableau.
  • Data flow from end to end in a customer life-cycle is a huge benefit. It is so highly dependent on having correct business processes in place to know if have right triggers in place. Your data, analytics, reports, forecasting is then right there in one system.

Product Usage

1000 - Whole company uses the platform in some way.

The 2 departments that don’t use outside of Chatter are R&D and HR.
  • Lead generation - we have tied Marketo into salesforce for lead qual, scoring, routing for the market development team.
  • Events and campaign management in marketing.
  • Sales lifecycle management and opportunity management
  • Managing price books, quoting, proposals,and contract management to an extent. Our legal team don’t use it yet, preferring a more manual approach. We also have Apttus in place for contract management.
  • Client (professional) services uses a combination of Salesforce.com and Clarizen.
  • Client Success/account management is heavily managed in Salesforce.com. Activities include account maintenance, account planning, and driving up-sells and cross-sells. However, if a client is late in bill payment, the data doesn’t manifest itself in Salesforce.com. The data resides in NetSuite but our integration is lacking. We are looking at Zuora.
  • We heavily use the customer portal. It’s how customers enter support cases and get routed into the organization. There is also some content stored in Salesforce.com

Evaluation and Selection

We used Salesforce.com from inception.

Implementation

It is important to ensure that your business processes are well defined.

You also need to define who owns the data who owns certain objects – this is so critical. Data quality in Salesforce.com is so hard. Identifying the owners i.e. person or department is important. It is hard as data ownership transfers during the life of customer. If everybody owns the data, then nobody owns it. Accounts and contacts is a key area. I have seen people using Gamification for managing data (e.g, Bunchball, Hoopla).

Training

  • Online training
  • In-person training
I have been through all admin classes and certifications. We also had 15+ people go through admin and advanced admin training. We had an advanced administrator trainer come to our location. Astadia does most of their training.
I have gone through multiple. The content that’s delivered is quite basic – I wish they had more advanced training.

We are grandfathered into premium support plus training. We get unlimited access to instructor led and online training for free. We have taken advantage of this.

Support

In the last 2.5 years, we have had 3-4 premier support admins. The talent level has been really high. We had one we weren’t so happy with, and they changed it.

They have room to improve. Salesforce has some strange limits that are applied, e.g. if we hit the built in email limit. I don’t know why they won’t just raise it.
Yes - We have premium support so that we can escalate. Without premium support, support is crappy.

They also offer admin support (which we paid for), but I don’t see a huge benefit to them doing it, as they need to absorb a lot of background information about your organization.



Usability

I would rate the user experience an 8-9. It is however so dependent on how an individual company configures their instance. Out of box, it is a very simple UI, consistent across all objects, but is not the most beautiful.

Reliability

For an application this large and complex it’s very good. There have been a couple of down times, but it has never disrupted our business to a major degree.

There are only a couple of configuration changes that require them to take your instance offline and that is known downtime. An example, is when we turned on multicurrency.

Integration

  • Marketo
  • NetSuite
  • Clarizen (professional services automation tool)
Marketo integration is native

NetSuite integration has been challenging.