Case Study 2: Salesforce
Salesforce.com: Software-as-a-service goes mainstream
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the software-as-a-service model? When
creating a business, it is important to have a type of customer relationship management (CRM).
This is when a business uses information systems to coordinate every business process that
surrounds the businesses interactions with its customers through marketing, sales, and service.
Salesforce.com provides a CRM through their software-as-a-service model over the internet.
There are several advantages and disadvantages to this software-as-a-service model.
Salesforce.com is very easy to access. There is no need to neither download nor purchase new
hardware, operation systems, database servers, applications servers and license and
maintenance fees. You can simply access this software-as-a-service model by going on the
Internet. A business can try out the model to see if they would like to use it for their business by
signing up for a free trial. If the business likes it and would like to use all of the advantages of
the on-demand model, a subscription starts as low as $9 per month per user for the pared-
down Group version for a business with small sales and marketing teams. Monthly
subscriptions that are more advanced versions for larger firms with bigger sales and marketing
teams, subscriptions starts around $65 per user. Salesforce.com is also constantly updating
their software and creating new tools for businesses. Also, a business can customize their
certain features of the software to create a unique process for their particular business. These
are great advantages to this software-as-a-service model, but there are some disadvantages as
well. One advantage that really stands out to me is that 1% of salesforce.com’s resources are
donated to support organizations that are working to help create a better environment
(Salesforce). In fact, they call their philanthropic approach the 1/1/1 model (Salesforce). So if
you choose to use Saleforce.com, you are supporting a philanthropic business. Although
Saleforce.com is always behind the scenes updating software, the maintenance may cause the
model to be slow or inactive for a short or long amount of time. For an example, when I logged
in today, I received a notice that there will be scheduled maintenance and the website will be
unavailable from Friday, October 8, 2010 at 8:30pm until Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 1:30 am
(Salesforce). Also, since the model is accessed through the internet, there is a possibility that
you would not be able to access your account if the internet was having problems, was
temporarily down, etc. Another disadvantage is that it could cost less to use other systems that
are coming out, or to stick with a CRM system that a business already has. Also, many people
have been complaining about the applications that are available on Salesforce. Although you
can edit and change the applications, some companies are going as far as to rewrite the whole
application such as Assest management (Gotts). They claim that the applications that exist on
Salesforce are out of date, expensive, impossible to modify, and are unstable (Gotts). If the
applications are unreliable and out of date as they say, then there is no point to upgrading to
What are some of the challenges facing Salesforce as it continues its growth? How well will it
be able to meet those challenges? There are several challenges that Salesforce faces as it
continues to grow. As the Information technology world grows, so does competition.
Traditional industry leaders along with new leaders are trying to replicate Salesforce success.
Companies, such as Microsoft, have created subscription-based versions of CRM products.
Companies would most likely choose a CRM product by a company such as Microsoft because
they have already had experience with their products and are familiar with Microsoft
applications. Also, Salesforce competition plans on offering their products at a lower cost.
Salesforce needs to expand its business model to new areas and a broader customer base. This
will help Salesforce to become well known and reach a greater market share. One way that
Salesforce is trying to expand by providing more opportunities of functionality. Salesforce is
doing this by creating a partnership with Google and specific Google applications. Services that
are offered by Salesforce are now combined with Gmail, Google Docs, Google Talk, and even
This allows customers to accomplish more tasks through the internet. Salesforce needed
another way to reach a broader company base. They have accomplished another way by
opening their application development platform to other companies. Their programs are now
listed on AppExchange were small businesses can access application via the internet and
download over 800 software applications. Finally, another challenge that Salesforce faces is
availability. Subscribers expect and depend on services being available all day, every day. As I
mentioned earlier, there are occasional scheduled maintenance outages, or unexpected
outages. Subscribers expect the software to be dependable and to provide the tools they need
24.7, and this unavailability does not provide this.
What kinds of businesses could benefit from switching to Salesforce and why? Personally, I do
not believe several businesses will benefit by switching to Salesforce until it has lowered the
amount of disadvantages it has. There are many glitches in the programming and is not
dependable. Although there have been successful business that have switched to Salesforce
such as 24 Hour Fitness (Laudon). This company is privately owned and uses both Salesforce
and the App Exchange (Laudon). It is possible that other private businesses could benefit from
switching to Salesforce. They could integrate their database of customers with Salesforce and
create analyses, reports, surveys, and more from Salesforce and the App Exchange (Laudon).
Also, nonprofit and social change businesses would benefit by switching to Salesforce. I believe
this because it will help these businesses organize their data that they maintain. Also, if they
qualify, Salesforce will donate 10 licenses to nonprofits because they would like to assist them
in achieving their goals (Salesforce). Salesforce employees will also donate their time to a
nonprofit organization for they have six paid volunteer days to help the community
What factors would you take into account in deciding whether to use Salesforce for your
business? The factors that I would take into account are the advantages and disadvantages of
using Salesforce. The fact that Salesforce is constantly upgrading their software and
applications is a huge disadvantage. It causes the website to be down for maintenance. This
means that Salesforce in unreliable and not dependable at all hours of the day. Also, if
applications are out of date and unable to modify, unlike what they claim to be, then this makes
them once again unreliable. Also, since there are systems available that are cheaper by
companies that I already entrust in, such as Microsoft, I would rather go with that.
MIS IN ACTION
What are the most popular applications on App Exchange? What kinds of processes do they
support? When accessing the App Exchange, there is a tab that makes it easy to find the most
popular applications, new applications, top picks and native applications. This enables users to
quickly find the most popular applications.
The first application that appears for the most popular applications is Outlook Integration for
Salesforce (Outlook 2010 & Windows 7 Supported). This application can assist companies in
creating contacts or leads from e-mails along with directly viewing the contact information in
Outlook without navigating away from Salesforce. The application cost $29.95 for a one time
license and offers a discount for non-profit organizations. The application also offers a
demonstration video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCNLqpa4Y7s.
The next application is Vertical Response for App Exchange which creates a professional e-mail
campaign with one of the 500 pre-designed templates, which can be edited. It is also inexpensive; the
pricing depends on whether it is an e-mail campaign or a postcard campaign. It too provides a
The next application is Conga Composer. This application produces several documents by merging
information with Excel, Word, or even PDF forms. It can create contracts, quotes, and create plans for a
business. It also provides a demonstration video,
https://www.appextremes.com/Conga/Demos/2009.11/Composer.html. You can also view screenshots
of this application. This application is free for the first 30 days, and then it becomes $12 per user per
month with an annual subscription and a 5 user minimum.
Could a company run its entire business using Salesforce.com and App Exchange? Explain you
answer. I do not believe a company could run its entire business using Salesforce.com and App
Exchange. This system and these applications mainly deal with sales, marketing, accounting,
finances, and can deal with manufacturing and production. A company still has another
functional areas to deal with, human resources. A company needs to have a good, strong team
behind their company. A company cannot use these applications or Salesforce to determine
who should work for them.
What kinds of companies are most likely to use App Exchange? What does this tell you about
how Salesforce.com is being used? App Exchange lists the industries that they specialize in.
Businesses dealing with these industries are most likely to use App Exchange. These industries
are as followed; communications, education, financial services, general business-no focus,
health care, high tech, manufacturing, media, nonprofit, pharmaceutical, professional services,
public sector, real estate, and retail.
This shows that App Exchange is growing and can help several types of companies. If App
Exchange continues to grow and is easy to modify, every business could benefit from using its
applications one day.