The CRM walled gardens in the enterprise space

The enterprise CRM and office software space just got exciting

Microsoft bought LinkedIn (old news!) . That was the first of the CRM walled gardens created in the office enterprise space. What is hot off the press, comparatively speaking, is the alliance announced between between Google and Salesforce. After months of rumor about SFDC joining the Microsoft camp, this announcement pretty much completes Google’s arsenal against Microsoft in the enterprise segment.

The key, as both Google and SFDC execs said separately- is that these companies are “cloud natives”. So, they see natural synergies. Some of it may well be spin, but a lot of it is true. I do find it interesting though the price points of the 2 offerings are far apart. An SFDC license could cost anything between 10 to 30 times more than a Google G-Suite license. So Google can run a scheme like take a G-Suite license free for every SFDC license, but it will be highly unlikely for SFDC to run a similar scheme (take a SFDC license for every G-Suite license you own!).

It leaves the rest of the CRM vendors a little left out to say the least.

The enterprise CRM walled gardens

There are now two CRM walled gardens- MS and LI are a camp and now SFDC and Google. It leaves SAP looking for a partner of similar heft in a parallel space to ensure the world of CRM is not bipolar.

What will Facebook do? It is moving to the enterprise space- there is the Facebook for business initiative- right now, little more than an ad and page manager. Whatsapp is beta testing its api or enterprise customers. Either it announces a CRM or partners with a CRM or buys one. Perhaps buys into one of the inbound marketing companies like Marketo or Eloqua or more likely, Hubspot.

Zoho and Sugar CRM will be rethinking their game as well. Zoho has built a office suite with the breadth of Google and will feel vindicated that their strategy to broadbase their offering seems to being followed.

What about us?

The SFDC Google alliance does not solve what we see as the problem with the way SFDC works. It is a software which managers love, but the users are less enamored of. Adoption is not easy, requires very strong consulting support and constant engagement with business IT.

We are in a quest to build a CRM software that SFDC perhaps set out to build when they started- something that requires very little training or customization and users liked using. And, then we have the benefit of wisdom acquired through the efforts of the current players and the changed technology landscape.

The changed technology landscape

Today it is all about connectivity and being present on multiple platforms and stores. Even SFDC hasn’t severed its links with Office 365 and it still calls AWS as a preferred partner.

It is also about mobility. As a customer told me the other day- they don’t even use our product on the web- they only use the Saleswah Android App. No reflection on our web app- it is just that his team is constantly on the road and it is not convenient (and it is expensive) to use laptops on the move.

So as we straddle both MS and Google and keep an eye out for Facebook and sharpen our play in mobile, we are aware that we simply have to continue doing the same thing- but do them a lot better than we have so far.