Executive Summary

  • This article is part of our honest vendor series, which is one of the only ratings of vendors rather than applications.
  • The vendor quality is critical to the decision making process as software purchases have a high long term involvement by the software vendor.


One of the most interesting vendors to cover is undoubtedly Salesforce. Siebel was the early originator of CRM, but Salesforce has redefined the category as well as make it viable, and it seems like Salesforce is just getting started.

Salesforce is a deceptively large company. With easy to sign up and use service, relatively transparent pricing and application trials, it’s easy to forget Salesforce is one of the larger enterprise software vendors, and with 10,000 employees and with their rate of growth, while already big they are destined to become one of the giants in the enterprise software space.

Salesforce has performed several acquisitions, but unlike most other software vendors that we have tracked, these acquisitions have been strategic rather than just buying customers or covering up for innovation deficiencies. Some of the acquisitions, such as the functionality that is currently referred to as Chatter (from GroupSwim in 2009) are critical components to Salesforce today.

Salesforce has developed experience in managing one of the most significant enterprise software cloud applications in the world as measured by both the numbers of users who log in per day and the degree of usage.

Quality of Information Provided

The quality of sales information provided by Salesforce has declined in the past few years. The company’s sales vision is getting ahead of its ability to execute as many within Salesforce see the salespeople having too much control over the company’s direction. Salesforce has always had that problem (CEO Marc Benioff, is, of course, ex-Oracle), but is now more pronounced as more ex-Oracle salespeople have been hired, and the Oracle Sales Model has been increasingly adopted. We have access to how salespeople at Salesforce are trained and compensated, and it is a perfect model for the dissemination of false information.

Consulting and Support

We rate Salesforce as above average in consulting as below average in support. Salesforce has the benefit of having a few of its implementations performed by the major consulting companies. Salesforce implements too quickly, and no major consulting company could make enough money from them to “recommend” them as a solution.

Internal Efficiency

Salesforce is rapidly calcifying, and this is why we have assigned it a Current Innovation Level several points lower than its historical innovation level – necessarily Salesforce is going through its innovation lifecycle faster than most other companies due to its growth. Also, the success of Salesforce has led to Harvard MBA Syndrome (HBS). Salesforce today, has significantly weaker management than the Salesforce of 5 years ago with more Oracle Sales Model influence (forcing short-term decision making) with fewer technologists. Due to all of this, Salesforce’s internal efficiency now only moderate. As is usually the case when a large number of ex-Oracle employees move to a new software vendor, the amount of politics, backbiting and tedious sales meetings has drastically increased leaving many of the earlier Salesforce employees feeling disenfranchised. For years, Salesforce marketed itself as the anti-Oracle, the “cuddly” enterprise software company that was going to break the rules, and now they are changing into Oracle.


Salesforce is an innovative company in application platform development, which is in part masquerading as an innovative company in applications. We have tested multiple Salesforce applications and have not been impressed by any of them. However, their Force.com and the AppExchange is undoubtedly innovative.

When one looks at Salesforce from the outside, there seems to be a bright future, but when looking at Salesforce from the inside, it shows all the signs of a company whose best days are already behind it. At least from an innovation perspective, while their revenue should thrive for some time.

Vendor Scores

Honest Vendor Ratings

Search for the vendor in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table. Shortening Key: 
  • VC = Vendor Consulting
  • VS = Vendor Support
  • QIP = Quality of Information Provided
  • IE = Internal Efficiency
  • I = Innovation
  • C = Category
  • ACS = Average Category Score
Average Score for the BI Heavy Software Category6. HeavyCategory Average
Average Score for the BI Light Software Category7.76.756.36.8BI LightCategory Average
Average Score for the CRM Software Category5. Average
Average Score for the PLM Software Category7. Average
Average Score for the Production Planning Software Category7.36.765.25.7Production PlanningCategory Average
Average Score for the Small and Medium ERP Software Category7. and Medium ERPCategory Average
Average Score for the Supply Planning Software Category7. PlanningCategory Average
Average Score Score for the Demand Planning Software Category7. PlanningCategory Average
Average Score for the Big ERP Software Category4. ERPCategory Average
Actuate77865BI HeavyApplication Specific
Arena Solutions91010810PLMApplication Specific
AspenTech43437Production PlanningApplication Specific
Base CRM88997CRMApplication Specific
Birst8888.59BI HeavyApplication Specific
Business Forecast Systems991098Demand PlanningApplication Specific
Delfoi888.548Production PlanningApplication Specific
Demand Works99101010Supply PlanningApplication Specific
ERPNext888.5109Small and Medium ERPApplication Specific
FinancialForce10109109.5FinancialApplication Specific
Hamilton Grant89.589.58PLMApplication Specific
Intacct1010999.5FinancialApplication Specific
Intuit88966.5FinancialApplication Specific
JDA3.53422Demand PlanningApplication Specific
Microsoft45211Small and Medium ERPApplication Specific
MicroStrategy87777BI HeavyApplication Specific
NetSuite65644CRMApplication Specific
OpenERP788.587Small and Medium ERPApplication Specific
Oracle52111ManyApplication Specific
PlanetTogether91081010Supply PlanningApplication Specific
Preactor787.533Production PlanningApplication Specific
ProcessPro1089109Small and Medium ERPApplication Specific
QlikTech87589.5CRMApplication Specific
Salesforce73866CRMApplication Specific
SAS971077Demand PlanningApplication Specific
SugarCRM44553CRMApplication Specific
Tableau101091010BI LightApplication Specific
Teradata98.58.568BI HeavyApplication Specific
ToolsGroup1010999Demand PlanningApplication Specific
SAP53111ManyApplication Specific

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