Note: I have not been at any of these famous conferences physically. Why bother increase CO2 emission when you can watch everything online? I hope you agree. Here is my small recap of what is happing in these crazy world of CRM technology.
First of all watching WPC was an easy task, just go to a Microsoft page and stream the video for free. DreamForce decided to charge for their amazing remote experience and the price was…. your "Like" on Facebook. Do you realize how much "Like" is worth nowadays? Now all my friends will know what I watch, and Facebook page will bombard me with ads on CRM theme. Unbelievably expensive! However, my curiosity won, so I clicked "Like".
Both events were happening on a 360 degree stage, which probably tells a lot about the size of these events. DreamForce gathered 90 000 attendees, around 350 partners, where Microsoft WPC was attended by 14 000 memebers, including 9 000 channel partners. I think SaleForce did a pretty got job of attracting attention, especially for a just one product venue. Well, they are selling a sales force product, they better be good at what they do.
Back to the venues. Two similar stages and two the most important speakers: SF CEO Marc Benioff vs MS CEO Steve Ballmer and here are two major points of their key notes in my mind:
SalesForce - Social revolution. Get into your customer's mind by using the most popular social platforms and drive your sales force from there.
Microsoft - Technology revolution. Integrate and extend software experience to other surfaces, and use it for a limitless collaboration and sharing.
Both directions are pretty impressive and make me excited. I know MS CRM is lacking that social flavor but trust me, Microsoft will catch up on this pretty soon. What is good about SalesForce, it is very flexible and adjusts well to the market demand, but their CRM product is pretty expensive and doesn't have seamless integration with Outlook or robust reporting like Microsoft CRM does. Also SalesForce doesn't provide the ability to go on-premise and getting all your data out can be pretty tough.
However, users love SalesForce interface, it is pretty intuitive and highly customizable. Microsoft can be a little confusing and limited in terms of customization, but a lot of work is being done. I expect great results in the nearest future, since a lot of changes have been made recently. For example, making MS CRM a multi browser application opened doors to such opportunities like tablets, and with a new Microsoft tablet coming out MS CRM future gets even more exciting. I can defiantly see a spike in CRM sales after a new tablet comes out.
Short term I think SaleForce wins, it has trendy features, cool looks, and everyone is talking about it, but long term I think Microsoft has more capacity to grow, due to already establish market for Microsoft products, plus introducing all new recent collaboration features makes me believe it will catch up with SalesForce pretty soon.
* A little note about Microsoft; WPC was not CRM focused but we can defiantly see what the trend is and where the company is going with its products.
Clouded by Sale Force :)