Good product but needs strong administrator.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
October 28, 2012

Good product but needs strong administrator.

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Review Source

Software Version

Enterprise Edition

Modules Used

  • Sales Cloud

Overall Satisfaction

  • Security is really good.
  • Configuration management works fairly well
  • I love the Appexchange. It is the first place to go shopping, especially if sales related.
  • Configurability for profiles is good.
  • You really need someone qualified to administrate it. While it is extremely flexible, it is not straight forward. You are really likely to want to customize it and customization requires a different skill set and level of maturity. We need both system administrators who do clicks not code configuration changes, and full blown developers. We needed someone more than a click based administrator to make changes. I’ve had to hire several developers and a dedicated administrator.
  • It is complex. You need to learn the model. It is very flexible and feature complete. There are certain features you can turn on that cannot turn off later if you goofed, e.g. territories.
  • Forecasting module – out of box it is challenging. We are looking Appexchange applications right now. We are doing a pilot with Cloud9.
  • Analytics is a weak spot of the product. It is difficult to use. We needed someone to write reports. You can get to basic proficiency quickly, but if you want to merge/blend data, across objects, it requires a different skill level. We also are using a data warehouse – MySQL data which interfaces to GoodData. We will end up with both. The reports we can build in SF we will to give users just one dashboard, and you don’t have a reconciliation issue.
  • The other difficulty, is tracking things that happen in less than one day e.g. the time between lead and first activity. That sort of time tracking is hard in Salesforce.
  • We have great visibility to pipeline.
  • We have the ability to manage accounts and opportunities.
  • It’s at the heart of our operations.
  • It is easy to integrate. You don’t have to spend on integrating to other vendors which means cost avoidance – many things available out of the box.
  • It gives our CFO some measure of predictability of future revenue via past bookings and current pipeline.

Product Usage

175 - Sales, marketing, customer support, finance
3 - 1 full time administrator that is a click to configure administrator i.e. does not write code.

2 full time developers that do Salesforce.com development. They are hardcore software developers writing in Visual Force, Apex, and have a background is Object Oriented languages. For example, one created REST API that could be invoked by our product.

Operationally, I have a small group in IT, and outside of IT that can make those changes that coordinate and agree on process for changes. That would eliminate the frustration in the user groups of a fully centralized model. I believe user management should stay in IT i.e. adding/deleting/ managing profiles, as should the ability to push code. It’s ok to develop outside of IT, but you need to keep changes very coordinated and controlled. Be cautious about giving out broad administrative privileges. It’s hard to rein them back in.
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer support - although we use Zendesk for ticketing, we look up account history in Salesforce directly. Support initiate account changes e.g. new customer information.
  • Finance

Evaluation and Selection

No - N/A - It was the first CRM we implemented.
It was implemented before I joined.

Implementation

If you do need customization, finding good Salesforce developers is extremely difficult - both people to come work for you and professional services firms. You can find firms, but finding good ones is hard.

Try and stay as vanilla as you can, configure before you code.

Get at least one person in your organization well trained on administration using Salesforce training.

Treat configuration like code. Always test in sandbox. Practice good change control i.e. what configuration changes were made at what time, and limit who can make configuration changes.


  • Implemented in-house
In the past, I have used Cleartask, a small boutique firm in San Francisco. We were starting to have dialog with Accenture that has a growing practice and had satisfied customers.

I have not used any of the Indian development firms but would imagine that HCL, Tata, Wipro might be good solutions.

I have had some experiences with Appirio and Astadia 2 years back and had mixed results. In my experience, it depends on who you get from their bench. Perhaps they’ve improved.

Our Zuora implementation required customization within Salesforce. We are using Zuora Professional Services but that was problematic as we didn’t get high code quality.

Training

  • Online training
  • In-person training
When I hire new developers, if I cannot find people w/the skills, I send to Salesforce training. They are pretty good.

Configuration

Primary customization was for integration to our own product – for lead flow and to get to work with Zuora (our billing system). It required true programming in both cases.

Support

They are not always as responsive as they could be. We have had some issues, where it was not great.

I personally have not interacted with support that frequently. I only hear about the escalations.

Usability

It requires training

Analytics are not intuitive but the rest of it is pretty good.

Integration

  • Zuora - billing system
  • Zendesk - ticketing system
  • Marketo - marketing automation
  • Data warehouse
  • Box - file storage
  • InsideView (Appexchange package) data augmentation service. Popular among our users.
  • Conga (Appexchange package) – mail merge tool. I am a big fan. It enables you to create a template in Word or Excel merged with data from opportunity and will create a filled out document.
  • Totango (Appexchange package) – a quoting tool which replaced Drawloop for us.
  • Xactly (Appexchange package) - sales compensation
  • AppBuddy (Appexchange package) – it's like grid app. It's a good productivity saver.
Zuora – 2-way integration. The product catalog is defined in Zuora and pushed to Salesforce.com. - The creation of orders occurs in Salesforce.com using Zuora data (largely customized) . A whole lot of process flow is enforced, in terms of what fields get populated in an opportunity – that’s heavily customized. The order form generation itself is heavily customized using Conga. It took a developer to do this. The level of integration work required was undersold by Zuora. Zuora is also the point of integration to Netsuite. An order is initiated in Salesforce.com using product data from Zuora, the subscription pushed into Zuora which is master for subscriptions. It sends the information to our product to say light it up, and adds account to Netsuite. Zuora generates invoices, do all accounts receivable in Netsuite. Zuora sells out of box integration to NetSuite that uses Boomi – we don’t license Boomi.

Zendesk – pushes data in

Marketo - out of the box integration

Datawarehouse – export from SFDC

Box.net – out of the box integration