Executive Summary

  • This is the Brightwork Research & Analysis software rating series.
  • We rate both the software and estimate the risk of implementing each application.

MUFI Rating & Risk for Salesforce Enterprise

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Salesforce (Select For Vendor Profile)


Salesforce is one of the most interesting software vendors that we cover. 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. Although there are questions how much Salesforce wants to focus on continuing to develop its CRM and other customer-oriented applications, and how much it wants to focus on being a platform provider. Salesforce CRM has a high buyer satisfaction level.

Application Detail

Salesforce is the functionality leader in the CRM market, but CRM applications are the simplest of any enterprise software category that we cover – so even having the most functionality, Salesforce is still a simple application. Once Salesforce is purchased by a client the application is “sticky,” in that its customers tend to stay with Salesforce. To us the Salesforce user interface is overly simple with too little information on each screen.

Salesforce Contact

Salesforce CRM has rather basic functionality. It is an input-output application, which lacks processing logic that is usually part of enterprise software. CRM is a simple application, and it should cost less than any of the other software categories that we cover. And in fact, that tends to be true, except for the lowest cost ERP systems, which CRM systems have a higher TCO versus.

And we question the efficiency of Salesforce CRM as it takes quite a few screens to get to the final goal. The simplicity and even the colors of the user interface make it look like the application is directed towards the children’s market, and all of the Salesforce’s applications look and work the same way. However, its hard to argue with success as the user response to Salesforce CRM’s user interface is quite positive – indicating that Salesforce knows its users at lot better than we do. In fact, we can see areas of the user interface that have quite clearly been copied by other CRM vendors.

Salesforce offers a mainline CRM application and is sometimes criticized for not having good marketing platform functionality – however, CRM is in flux regarding its direction, making it increasingly difficult to say definitively what the scope of what is a CRM system. In fact, we question how valuable the term CRM will be in the future – as it has degenerated into a catch-all term for a variety of customer-related applications. For instance, Salesforce is strong in call center functionality – called Service Cloud, however, that is a separate software category. We predict that CRM will break into several software categories, with different software vendors leading each of these categories. One, of course, is already well developed, called marketing automation – whose leading software vendors are not the same software vendors that are leaders in CRM.

Salesforce ServiceSomething Salesforce is excellent at is allowing any of the applications that are part of their platform be easily installed. This is more of a contribution to enterprise software than the original Salesforce CRM application.

Of course, the Salesforce CRM application is just the beginning, with AppExchange being a big part of any analysis of Salesforce. Bluewolf reports that 91% of Salesforce customers have at least 1 AppExchange application installed, and 29% have at least five installed. Salesforce is morphing into something far beyond merely CRM. Salesforce allows for the creation of private communities for collaboration. Salesforce is showing great creativity in allowing the integration of applications in many different areas to integrate to it. Salesforce’s  Force.com platform not only positions Salesforce CRM for fast integration with AppExchange partners, but Salesforce’s infrastructure and integration capabilities are some of the strongest in enterprise software – and this allows Salesforce CRM to integrated quickly and efficiently to other non-Force.com applications. Interestingly, integrations to other applications on the AppExchange are not as complete as most customers are lead to believe. We hesitate to call the provided integration a starter kit, but in many cases, additional integration will be required.

The next stage of CRM is to add marketing platform functionality as well, and this is not a strength for Salesforce.

Unfortunately, Salesforce is now so established that the primary consulting companies have built up skills and Salesforce has partnerships with all of them. This means that Salesforce implementations are becoming more lengthy and costing more, increasing the TCO of Salesforce CRM. The major consulting companies will not tolerate fast implementations that are good value for clients, and so get ready for Salesforce implementations to be much more about “process” and uses the term “best practices.”

Salesforce is one of the few enterprise software vendors with substantially higher prices for non-US customers. Our TCO for Salesforce Enterprise estimates TCO for US customers. For non-US customers, we can estimate a TCO for your region.

While Salesforce should be applauded for price transparency as they publish their prices on their website, our TCO analysis shows that its costs add up to a TCO that is surprisingly high when just looking at the initial costs of acquisition. Salesforce is now the highest cost CRM application, by initial license cost of any application in the CRM market.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

MUFI Scores

Search for the vendor in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table. Shortening Key: 
  • Ma. = Maintainability
  • Us. = Usability
  • Fu. = Functionality
  • Im. = Implementability
Average Score for Big ERP5. ERP
Average Score for CRM6.
Average Score for Small and Medium ERP8.386.78.5Small and Medium ERP
Average Score for Finance8.88.888.8Finance
Average Score for Demand Planning7.67.277.1Demand Planning
Average Score for Supply Planning6.76.976.8Supply Planning
Average Score for Production Planning6.86.976.9Production Planning
Average Score for BI Heavy5. Heavy
Average Score for PLM77.26.87.3PLM
Average Score for BI Light7.78.798.3BI Light
Arena Solutions Arena PLM10101010PLM
AspenTech AspenOne48107Production Planning
Birst88.5108BI Light
ERPNext10107.510Small and Medium ERP
Delfoi Planner866.57Production Planning
Demand Works Smoothie SP910710Supply Planning
Hamilton Grant RM1098.59PLM
IBM Cognos2.731.53BI Heavy
Infor Epiphany7865CRM
Infor Lawson8767Big ERP
Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions9959Finance
JDA DM97.588Demand Planning
Microsoft Dynamics CRM2322CRM
NetSuite CRM6433CRM
Netsuite OneWorld7788Big ERP
Oracle BI4436BI Heavy
Oracle CRM On Demand4535CRM
Oracle Demantra533.54.5Demand Planning
Oracle JD Edwards World4136Big ERP
Oracle RightNow6745CRM
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS10101010Production Planning
Preactor8737Production Planning
QlikTech QlikView99109BI Light
Rootstock9899Small and Medium ERP
Sage X38878Big ERP
Salesforce Enterprise88.597.5CRM
SAP APO DP3432Demand Planning
SAP APO PP/DS2243Production Planning
SAP APO SNP3484Supply Planning
SAP BI/BW1.5242BI Heavy
SAP Business Objects32.573BI Heavy
SAP ECC336.53Big ERP
SAP SmartOps4475.5Supply Planning
SAS BI6.5796BI Heavy
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting7897Demand Planning
Tableau (BI)9101010BI Light
Tableau (Forecasting)10859Demand Planning
Teradata86.39.76BI Heavy
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)7897Demand Planning
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)56107Supply Planning

Vendor and Application Risk

Salesforce Enterprise provides a fairly smooth ability to implement its application. Because Salesforce Enterprise has a user interface that is well liked, user adoption is in the buyer’s favor.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Likelihood of Application Implementation Success and Failure

Estimates are for a typical project. A specific implementation requires details from the project to make a project-specific estimate.

Search for the application in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table.
ApplicationProb of Implementation SuccessProb of Implementation Failure
SAP Smartops0.390.61
NetSuite CRM0.460.54
Sugar CRM0.620.48
Base CRM0.910.09
SAP CRM0.350.65
Salesforce Enterprise0.720.28
QlikTech QlikView0.820.18
Tableau (BI)0.980.02
SAP Crystal Reports0.460.54
SAS BI0.760.24
Oracle BI0.350.65
IBM Cognos0.230.77
Infor Epiphany0.580.42
Microsoft Dynamics CRM0.260.74
Oracle RightNow CRM0.410.59
Oracle CRM On Demand0.360.64
SAP Business Objects0.320.68
SAP BI/BW0.250.75
SAP PLM0.290.71
Hamilton Grant RM0.890.11
Arena Solutions0.960.04
Delfoi Planner0.70.3
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS0.960.04
AspenTech AspenOne0.550.45
SAP APO PP/DS0.270.73
Demand Works Smoothie SP0.930.07
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)0.820.18
Demand Works Smoothie0.960.04
Tableau (Forecasting)0.90.1
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting0.820.18
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)0.860.14
JDA DM0.570.43
Oracle Demantra0.330.67
SAP APO DP0.280.72
Intuit QB Enterprise0.80.2
Microsoft Dynamics AX0.40.6
SAP Business One0.490.51
Sage X30.620.38
Infor Lawson0.580.42
Epicor ERP0.40.6
Oracle JD Edwards World0.310.69
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne0.360.64
SAP ERP ECC/R/30.320.68
NetSuite OneWorld0.650.35

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

There are no special considerations regarding risk management for Salesforce Enterprise implementations.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the CRM software category. Or goto this link to see other analytical products for Salesforce Enterprise.