MUFI Rating & Risk – Salesforce Enterprise

MUFI Rating & Risk – 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 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 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.

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.

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.


Enterprise Software TCO Calculator – Salesforce Enterprise

How it Works

Fill out the form below for a your customized TCO calculation, as well as each of the supporting cost components that make up the TCO. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.


  • Vendor Name: Salesforce (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: CRM
  • Company Headquarters: The Landmark @ One Market Suite 300 San Francisco, CA, 94105 
  • Site:
  • Contact number: 415.901.7000
  • Delivery Mechanism: SaaS

Finished With Your Analysis?

Project Planning Package – Salesforce Enterprise

How it Works

Fill out the form below for your project planning estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.


  • Vendor Name: Salesforce (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: CRM
  • Company Headquarters: The Landmark @ One Market Suite 300 San Francisco, CA, 94105
  • Site:
  • Contact number: 415.901.7000
  • Delivery Mechanism: SaaS

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, go to this link to see other analytical products for Salesforce Enterprise.


Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.


Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Honest Vendor Ratings – Salesforce


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 clear 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 a number of 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 very important components to Salesforce today.

Salesforce has developed experience in managing one of the largest 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 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 it historical innovation level – essentially Salesforce is going through its innovation lifecycle faster than most other companies due to its growth – also the success of Salesforce has lead to Harvard MBA Syndrome (HBS). Salesforce today, has a significantly weaker management than the Salesforce of 5 years ago with more Oracle Sales Model influence (forcing short-term decision making) with fewer of the executives actually technologists. Due to all of this, Salesforce’s internal efficiency now only moderate. As is normally 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 and the AppExchange is certainly 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 who’s best days are already behind it at least from an innovation perspective, while their revenue should grow in a healthy manner for some time.

Vendor Scores

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Software Selection Package for CRM

Software Category Analysis – CRM


CRM is the fastest growing software categories that in enterprise software. CRM has been forecasted by Forbes to surpass ERP in revenues by the year 2017. If that occurs, that will be a fantastic accomplishment as this is the first time that any other category of enterprise software has even come close to ERP sales since ERP was introduced back in the 1980s.

This is good news and bad news regarding CRM. First, the good news is that CRM has been the test case for SaaS delivery of enterprise software. If it had not been for CRM and specifically for Salesforce, SaaS would have taken considerably more time to take hold. It should be remembered that the conventional wisdom was that no one would trust or use SaaS because it required giving up too much control – and then Salesforce went and proved everyone wrong. This is just another example of where the experts that cover enterprise software have been wrong. However, the bad news is that CRM is probably not worthy of being the next big enterprise software trend for reasons that will be explained shortly.

A Short History of CRM

CRM is an interesting software category because, before SaaS, and Salesforce, on-premises CRM had one of the failure rates of any category of application. Siebel was, of course, the market leader (Siebel was acquired by Oracle in 2005, and as is standard is now an irrelevant application), and then other companies like SAP and Oracle developed CRM applications. All of these applications failed in implementation at very high rates, and now most of the CRM market is delivered by SaaS, and it is the only category of enterprise software that is delivered this way. Why? Some have argued that CRM is a natural fit for SaaS delivery because it is a more straightforward application, and requires little in the way of computation. CRM is after all just an input-output application. However, while this is a tempting line of logic, we don’t think this can be the only reason. One could run some of the most complex and processor heavy enterprise applications in the cloud, as the server is in any case remote from the user regardless of whether the application his hosted internally or externally. For instance, if we look at DropBox – a cloud-based data hosting solution, it has a better search capability than any operating system search we have ever tested – and this is a combination of both specialized hardware as well as software for searching.

Persistent Data Quality Problems

CRM has shed much of its image as a widow maker for IT; however, when we sit with marketing and sales personnel as they show us their sales data, we see continuing data quality issues. These sessions invariably end with a statement from the marketing or sales director we are sitting with say something like “much of this data is out of date.”

We would caution buyers not to get caught up in the hype of CRM. The number one problem with CRM is getting quality sales data, and this continues even with all of the advancements in CRM technologies. All manner of data quality issues has lead to software vendors that have products that clean CRM systems such as Talend and Data Cleaner (although the focus of these applications is more on the low-level quality issues such as duplicate records).

CRM Data QualityApplications like Data Cleaner check for things like completeness in CRM systems.

Many companies are happy with how quickly they can get a CRM system operational, but a detailed review of the data quality is almost always disappointing. This is a greatly deemphasized topic by both consulting companies – particularly the major consulting companies as well as the CRM software vendors as if clients knew the real average quality of sales information in CRM systems, it would put a severe damper on CRM software sales. Of course, no one that stands to make money on CRM is going to kill the party by declaring that CRM systems offer dubious payback. Both of these entities can get away with doing this because buyers often are fooled by the participation in the CRM system or the amount of data that is within a CRM system as a measure of the success of the implementation.

The Sales Forecast Problem

A significant problem persists with the quality of forecasts that are entered into CRM systems with the vast majority of companies not adjusting these sales forecasts for bias. The bias of Sales in forecasting generally is so well known that the software vendor Right90 has developed its primary application, as well as a CRM “plug-in” that is run from the platform and Oracle CRM on Demand (and can be integrated to other CRM applications as well) which is centered on managing the bias of sales forecasts. Few buyers buy this plugin or address their persistent sales forecast bias.

Bias is a constant in forecasting regardless of the forecasting environment (supply chain and non-supply chain), yet few buyers are willing to see the forecast bias inherent in judgment methods as anything beyond a cognitive bias (that is an unconscious bias or error in cognition). Forecast bias is a tendency for a forecast to be consistently higher or lower than the actual value. Forecast bias is distinct from forecast error in that an estimate can have any level of error, but still be completely unbiased. For instance, even if a forecast is fifteen percent higher than the actual values half the time and fifteen percent lower than the actual values the other half of the time, it has no bias. But forecast which is on average fifteen percent lower than the actual value has both a fifteen percent error and a fifteen percent bias.

Bias can exist in statistical forecasting or judgment methods. However, it is much more familiar with judgment methods and is one of the significant disadvantages of judgment methods. The fact that different groups in a company have different incentives is well documented. These incentives can cause the forecast to be set higher or lower than they rationally would be. Considering today’s level of technological sophistication, it is baffling that most companies don’t know the effect of the bias of different areas of their company on their forecast, much less the effect of the bias of different individuals.

On the other hand, many vendors don’t emphasize bias detection in their applications, so in many cases, companies are required to build custom reports to determine forecast bias. It is rare for software vendors to make bias identification a focal point (although consensus forecasting vendors seem to be ahead of the curve on this topic). Therefore, most companies lack software with an internal dashboard that allows the company to adjust for bias. This is where custom report building comes into play.

Companies will often implement a CRM system, but not analyze how their internal sales incentives affect the quality of information placed into the system. Measuring individuals on sales volume and service level, without measuring them on inventory or forecast accuracy will promote a natural inclination to over forecast. This is because over forecasting provides the ability to meet a higher sales volume with service level and sales volume Over forecasting is so common in this scenario that its technical name is “hedging,” which is..

“Used so that “the factory will have stuff when I want it.” This game may be played by salespersons or customers, especially when capacity is tight or for new products.” – Sales Forecast Game Playing:Why It’s Bad and What You Can Do About It

Is CRM Improving Sales Forecasting or Customer Service?

One of the interesting features of CRM that we have yet to see discussed is if CRM applications are really helping companies, why are we not seeing improvements in forecast accuracy in companies that have a CRM system? This is not a question that CRM salespeople are interested in answering.

There is little doubt that CRM systems improve visibility, but how does that visibility translate to financial benefits? It is estimated that roughly 90% of CRM systems are implemented without “significant business gains.” CRM systems are ostensibly designed to provide all types of customer information at sales, customer service, etc.. individuals fingertips. That is the hypothesis. However, two more important questions should be asked:

  1. Is CRM improving the customer experience?
  2. Is CRM customer service improving generally?

The answer to this question is easy to determine, customer service is widely acknowledged to have precipitously declined right as CRM implementations have increased.

One may question whether this is a correlation (the two just happened to be related) or causation (bad service is causing CRM implementations, or CRM implementations are leading to bad customer service) and we do not know which is the right answer. However, we do know that no CRM solution or other technology can improve customer satisfaction if the company has decided to no longer take care of its customers. For instance, Sears, once a service leader that has been in great decline in great part because of policies that wiped out its customer service, began providing iPads to sales associates – thinking this could help overcome poor pay and poor training and other incentives (that is another reflexive rule of the terminally uncreative – add iPads). This is what we refer to as Technology as Band Aid Syndrome, where technology is used to cover up bad management practices. Technology can be a good thing, but if it simply becomes a crutch for a management that is completely self-centered and is playing to Wall Street’s biases, technology can be a negative. Technologies like CRM are often used to mask the fact that the pay level for many of those that provide customer service is low and even worse to feel as if they can place enough information into the service system that they can deskill the position of customer service and outsource it or cut wages. This leads to high turn over, and moral problems. The discrepancy between what salespeople get paid (and also how much goes to advertising), versus what customer service people get paid continues to widen.

Customers have noticed. Secondly, the differential between what they are promised – both by sales, but particularly by advertising is often a yawning chasm – as advertising feel it is their right to engage in any type of deception in order to make sales go up. Again, this is not something that CRM can help solve.

Research on CRM Based Business Improvement

We were unable to find any research on CRM applications improving sales, forecasting or customer service – the types of things that CRM is supposed to improve. The CRM market is overflowing with promises but has precious little evidence to back up the claims that are made for it. This is the premise of the book Why CRM Doesn’t Work: How to Win by Letting Customers Manage the Relationship. In the book, it is explained that CRM projects often seem to become about the efficiency of processing customers rather than analyzing the sales or service process. CRM applications are often sold as Band-Aids by consulting and software vendors alike. And that beyond simply covering up sales and service policy and incentive problems, CRM is used to manipulate and extract from customers (Customer Relationship Mangement). One CRM vendor, Base CRM actually writes on this topic. In their blog post 5 Ways your CRM is Decreasing Your Productivity Base CRM author Laura Licata points out the following:

  1. Data entry is turning your reps into robots.
  2. Duplicate data is making a mess of your system.
  3. It’s so complicated that your reps get frustrated and stop using it.
  4. Inaccurate reports are causing your to make bad business decisions.
  5. It can’t keep up on mobile.

The software vendor Base CRM is attempting to get companies to buy its software, by proposing that they aren’t like standard CRM, but the information it is providing on this topic also happens to be true. Many CRM applications are not designed for everyday usability.

This brings up a very rarely asked question with regards to any software category. Normally a software category is measured on its ability to provide a positive return on investment. Some applications, like tier 1 ERP have a negative return on investment, which simply means the application will not pay back its total cost of ownership. An ERP application may have a 7 year TCO of $20,000,000 and only pay back $18,000,000 thus having a negative ROI. However, CRM is the only software category that we analyze where the question comes up if CRM actually worsens the company’s position.

CRM’s Low Average Software Quality

CRM easily has the least impressive applications of any enterprise software category we cover. The applications that impress us are normally never the big brand names – however, in most software categories we come away impressed with the thought that went into the design of the application. We are software enthusiasts and love good software. However, it was infrequent that when we were testing any of the CRM applications and came away impressed.

Nailing Down What is CRM

CRM is morphing into something that no one expected – an overall marketing platform. In just a short span of time CRM has turned from the enterprise software category one of the highest failure rates, that had the modest goal of accepting and reporting on sales information into a software category with high rates of success and which does so much more than just accepting and reporting on sales input. Most of this is due to Salesforce. They showed what was possible, and created the credibility that CRM has with companies presently. It turns out that putting CRM into the cloud-enabled all of the other functionalities that have since been added to CRM to flourish.

Software Category Summary

When purchasing something that has so little in the way of evidence that it will help your company, it makes sense to limit the expenditure to the good, but inexpensive applications. This leads to a follow-on point. This is the natural conclusion based upon the low potential of CRM systems.

Its difficult for us to see many of the CRM applications that we reviewed could make much of an impact to a company’s bottom line. There is far more potential in other software categories, and applications in software categories with a much higher potential ROI – such as PLM/BOM management software are underinvested upon. We are one of the few information sources on enterprise software that actually helps buyers prioritize their software purchases.

MUFI Rating & Risk

See the MUFI Ratings & Risk below for all of the applications we cover.

Vendor NameApplication
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP ECC
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
EpicorMUFI Rating & Risk – Epicor ERP
SageMUFI Rating & Risk – Sage X3
InforMUFI Rating & Risk – Infor Lawson
Small and Medium ERP
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP Business One
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – JD Edwards World
ProcessProMUFI Rating & Risk – ProcessPro
RootstockMUFI Rating & Risk – Rootstock
ERPNextMUFI Rating & Risk – ERPNext
OpenERPMUFI Rating & Risk – OpenERP
MicrosoftMUFI Rating & Risk – Microsoft Dynamics AX
Financial Applications
IntacctMUFI Rating & Risk – Intacct
IntuitMUFI Rating & Risk – Intuit Quickbooks Enterprise Solutions
FinancialForceMUFI Rating & Risk – FinancialForce
NetSuiteMUFI Rating & Risk – NetSuite OneWorld
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP PLM
Arena SolutionsMUFI Rating & Risk – Arena Solutions Arena PLM
Hamilton GrantMUFI Rating & Risk – Hamilton Grant Recipe Management
Demand Planning
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP APO DP
TableauMUFI Rating & Risk – Tableau (Forecasting)
Business Forecast SystemsMUFI Rating & Risk – Forecast Pro TRAK
Demand WorksMUFI Rating & Risk – Demand Works Smoothie
JDAMUFI Rating & Risk – JDA Demand Management
ToolsGroupMUFI Rating & Risk – ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)
Supply Planning
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP SNP
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP SmartOps
ToolsGroupMUFI Rating & Risk – ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply Planning)
Demand WorksMUFI Rating & Risk – Demand Works Smoothie SP
PlanetTogetherMUFI Rating & Risk – PlanetTogether Galaxy APS Superplant
Production Planning
DelfoiMUFI Rating & Risk – Delfoi Planner
PreactorMUFI Rating & Risk – Preactor
AspenTechMUFI Rating & Risk – AspenTech AspenOne
PlanetTogetherMUFI Rating & Risk – PlanetTogether Galaxy APS
BI Heavy
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP BI/BW
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP Business Objects
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle BI
SASMUFI Rating & Risk – SAS BI
MicroStrategyMUFI Rating & Risk – MicroStrategy
IBMMUFI Rating & Risk – IBM Cognos
TeradataMUFI Rating & Risk – Teradata
ActuateMUFI Rating & Risk – Actuate ActuateOne
BI Light
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP Crystal Reports
QlikTechMUFI Rating & Risk – QlikTech QlikView
TableauMUFI Rating & Risk – Tableau (BI)
SAPMUFI Rating & Risk – SAP CRM
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle RightNow
OracleMUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle CRM On Demand
InforMUFI Rating & Risk – Infor Epiphany
Base CRMMUFI Rating & Risk – Base CRM
SalesforceMUFI Rating & Risk – Salesforce Enterprise
SugarCRMMUFI Rating & Risk – SugarCRM
MicrosoftMUFI Rating & Risk – Microsoft Dynamics CRM
NetSuiteMUFI Rating & Risk – NetSuite CRM




Nguyen, Bang. Simkin, Lyndon. The Dark Side of CRM: Advantaged and Disadvantaged Customers. Journal of Consumer Marketing. 2013.