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June 2022
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John Khoury - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Technology & Change Management at My Muscle Chef
Real User
Top 20
Easily integrates with different ERPs, agile, and can deal with complex business requirements
Pros and Cons
  • "I like that Salesforce is ERP agnostic. In the past and at different companies, I have implemented new or replacement ERPs. It's best in class. I like that it's a SaaS. I like that it can work on any device—any Windows, Android, or Apple device."
  • "It would be nice if they had an ERP offering or a firm strategic partnership with a best-in-class ERP. So rather than say they're just ERP agnostic, you would pick whichever ERP you want, which is very generic. I think it would have a lot of merit if they partnered strategically with a best-in-class trusted ERP platform or acquired an ERP platform."

What is our primary use case?

It's really the field sales mobility and alignment with the customer-service functions, so Service and Sales Cloud alignment through Salesforce.

We use the SaaS version. Predominantly, it's pipeline management and Salesforce optimization. We are a smaller company, so there are about 80 users working with Sales Cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

In my company, we have very manual backend disparate systems, but the good news is that through Salesforce—not only the Sales Cloud, but the Commerce Cloud—our customer-facing experience is best-in-class with this solution. We give all our customer service and sales teams a shared view of every one of our customers. Obviously, there's all the analytics and now the AI business analytics. 

It easily integrates with different ERPs, so we are now, in a progressive manner, implementing an ERP across a large food manufacturing business. There is no down time to the customers because the backend will implement this in terms of finance and operations, but the frontend and sales experience for customers is unaffected because Salesforce is basically ERP standalone, ERP agnostic.

What is most valuable?

I like that Salesforce is ERP agnostic. In the past and at different companies, I have implemented new or replacement ERPs. It's best in class. I like that it's a SaaS. I like that it can work on any device—any Windows, Android, or Apple device. It can also sync with your Office suite, i.e. your Outlook calendar. It has a lot of features: the dashboards, the reporting, the hierarchy, and just the ability to connect to many different technologies and main best-in-class ERPs and other systems, including eCommerce.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice if they had an ERP offering or a firm strategic partnership with a best-in-class ERP. So rather than say they're just ERP agnostic, you would pick whichever ERP you want, which is very generic. I think it would have a lot of merit if they partnered strategically with a best-in-class trusted ERP platform or acquired an ERP platform.

I would like to see AI leveraged for proactive business decision support. For instance, if some sales trends change, rather than relying on a business analyst to analyze reports, it would be nice to leverage AI so workforces could be notified of changes—be it business intelligence, or capability, whether it's good or bad—so you can respond to it proactively. It would be nice to see this done in a simple, automatic, cost-effective manner.

For how long have I used the solution?

I was a long-term customer when I worked at Zodiac Marine & Pool, which is a global French company. I was the regional head of IT, which was the chief technology officer. I implemented Salesforce Sales Cloud in the region and worked very closely with the Americas and the EMEA—Europe, Middle East, Africa—counterparts to implement it across the globe. When I was at Hills Limited, which is an Australian public-listed company, I was the head of technology there as well, and I oversaw the whole Salesforce instance, which used Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, and Marketing Clouds. My new employer, My Muscle Chef, is also a large Salesforce customer.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the earlier days, there were challenges with broadband and internet being cost-effectively and easily available at all times, but now, it's very good.

As long as your business rules and master data is clean, and as long as it's configured correctly, the up-time is excellent. I've never encountered any issues. It's a very trusted vendor. Their systems never have outages. I think there was one outage in 10 years, but it works really well. It's excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. I implemented it in a region and then integrated it globally with my other counterparts for thousands of users. It's very scalable. It's agile. You can scale down or up depending on the term of your contract.

At My Muscle Chef, all the front-facing, customer-facing technologies are basically Salesforce, which basically compensates our current legacy, disparate backend applications. It's all compensated heavily by the effectiveness of how well we use Salesforce. I'm also a chairman of a National Rugby League club called the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, and we are also a Salesforce customer.

How are customer service and support?

We have our in-house team at the moment that deals with the partners, but when I was more technically involved in the implementation of the product, I dealt with customer support. As long as you are subscribed to the relevant type of support, it's excellent. It's global, and if you have 24/7 coverage, you get premium 24/7 coverage. It just depends on what type of subscription you have.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've had a fair amount of experience with different platforms like Zendesk, SugarCRM, and ACT!. We replaced that with Salesforce. In the last four years, I have had experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM.

I think Salesforce is industry agnostic. It works well across all industries: sales, service, marketing, Commerce Cloud. That is its strength. Some of the less known solutions are more industry or bespoke to the size of the company. SugarCRM is probably more for a smaller, marketing boutique type of organization. Salesforce can do this but can also work in enterprise size companies.

How was the initial setup?

The big challenge I'm finding at the moment is there's a shortage of skills, and if you are implementing Salesforce Cloud, it could be costly from an implementation cost point of view, but once it's implemented, it's a best-in-class solution. So it's the cost of achieving the actual implementation that is a challenge at the moment, with the cost of the labor and a shortage of skills in the Salesforce community.

What about the implementation team?

For the deployment process, we have five dedicated, highly paid resourcers that maintain our Salesforce platforms, but we also work with agencies and partners.

The time it takes to deploy Salesforce depends on the size of the business, but if you want to implement it properly and integrate it with your other ERP or data systems, I would say six to twelve months, depending on how big your business is. But to do this properly, the change management, training, and the ownership and handover to the business will take a minimum of six months. Depending on the size of the business, it can be as long as twelve months if it's done properly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is a premium product, so it is not the cheapest solution. I think if it's implemented well, and you're getting the soft cost benefits, the efficiencies, it's justified. But not if you're looking at just apples for apples as a subscription, without the complexity that you can achieve. It can deal with complex business requirements. Some other CRMs can't. But you certainly pay, so it's a premium-charged solution. It's one of the more expensive ones. 

The only other additional cost would be support, depending on how complex your business is and how much change is required. At the moment, there's a shortage of talent in the Salesforce community. They're in high demand and very costly to recruit or to have an arrangement with, whether it's in a formal employment or partner arrangement.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

One thing Microsoft Dynamics has that Salesforce does not is the full suite of applications in ERP, so that's one of the advantages. While Microsoft CRM is rapidly gaining good rankings in terms of improving, it might not be on par with Salesforce, but the value-add is the whole Microsoft suite of products, so the Microsoft 365, which is Office, SharePoint. These can all integrate with Salesforce, but they can give you everything, including this CRM and ERP all together in a single vendor experience.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution 9 out of 10. It is a premium product.

My biggest advice is to know your scope. Make sure you have buy-in, the executive ,down. It has to come from the leadership down. It can't be from an employee up, otherwise you won't have the buy-in, the optimized use of it. Then form a continuous improvement committee to ensure that you're leveraging the true capabilities of a best-in-class technology. Otherwise, you risk just using it for business-as-usual administration without necessarily leveraging the benefits of a SaaS, where there's ongoing new enhancements and capabilities. Unless you're investing in leveraging those, you're probably not getting the best return on your investment.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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