by Pat Garrehy, CEO, Rootstock Software
In Oracle’s June 16, 2016 earnings call1, Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman and CEO states, “[Salesforce] don’t compete in the largest category, which is ERP, also not HCM, again supply chain and manufacturing again and we think that gives us a huge advantage that our footprint is wider.”
In their 2016 Q1 earnings report, he states, “In some of our most important SaaS markets, such as ERP, HCM, Supply Chain and Manufacturing, Salesforce.com does not participate at all. By successfully competing in all of these markets, Oracle has the ability to sustain its high growth over a long period of time. That should make it easy for us to pass Salesforce.com and become the largest SaaS and PaaS cloud company in the world.”
What Does Salesforce Provide For Manufacturers?
It is common knowledge that Salesforce provides the world’s leading apps for Marketing, Sales and Support, all working seamlessly together on the same platform. What may not be as well known is that Salesforce has built an incredible platform that today features nearly 3,000 ISV applications. These products have been widely adopted, with over 3 million installs to date.
The beauty of this platform is that these applications work seamlessly together from within a single portal with a consistent user interface. A user could touch multiple ISV products in the course of a day in Salesforce without even realizing it – that’s how well these applications come together. For example, Rootstock customers get to run their entire back office on our product, but it is all within the same portal that every member of the organization uses. Better yet, they could easily extend their investment in Rootstock by deploying best-of-breed point solutions for specific needs that complement Rootstock functionality.
So what does this mean to a manufacturer? A salesperson can track an order once closed. A production controller can know what’s coming down the pipeline and plan capacity utilization. A manufacturer can coordinate raw products delivered from multiple suppliers. Service contracts can be created based on the product configuration and sales quotes. Support cases can be automatically resolved based on service contracts. And, so on.
In the Oracle world, the CRM and ERP are completely different products, many of them acquired over the years. Some of them are integrated on the back end, but they are rarely integrated on the front end, if at all. And they are not designed to be a platform. Adding an application is a massive undertaking in and of itself, integration is painful, and the resulting end user experience is quite disjoint. More importantly, many of these products have been in maintenance mode for years now, and the question remains how many of these products will be a true cloud solution 5 or 10 years from now.
Salesforce And Its Ecosystem Is Far Ahead Of The Competition
Salesforce offers an extensive and growing product suite that covers several key functional areas in Sales, Marketing, Support and more. The large and growing ecosystem of ISV partner products is a perfect complement to this core. This ecosystem is widely adopted – in the last year alone, there has been a 400% increase in customers with 5+ apps. There is no debate. Compared to other cloud platforms, such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, NetSuite and Oracle, Salesforce has the largest ecosystem of integrated apps and app developers.
These ISV apps offer some serious capabilities. Rootstock, for example, is one of the largest products on the Salesforce platform and provides an end-to-end ERP solution for manufacturers that rivals, if not exceeds, any offering from Oracle or SAP. There are several more examples of ISV apps that today are best in class in their respective domains.
Salesforce, when partnered with Rootstock Cloud ERP and other applications, not only provides manufacturers with a complete ERP, but also extends the Rootstock Cloud ERP backbone with the other best-of-breed point solutions that are on the Salesforce Cloud Platform. And, as I explained earlier, it is a truly seamless experience.
The ERP Experts And Thought Leaders Agree
Leading analysts have recognized the strength of Salesforce’s platform. According to Gartner, “Salesforce has a huge lead over its competitors when it comes to ecosystem and platform maturity, as it clearly has the most applications, customers, revenue and advanced features, making it the clear market leader.” For two consecutive years, Gartner, Inc. has positioned Salesforce for its Salesforce1 Platform in the “Leaders” quadrant for enterprise aPaas. The only other vendor in the Leaders quadrant is Microsoft.
So, not only does Salesforce produce leading edge solutions such as Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service but additionally offers best-in-class solutions.
For instance, the Salesforce platform features the most in-depth ERP in the Cloud (Rootstock) but already does so in the way that Gartner insists will be how companies will buy and implement enterprise software in the future. Postmodern ERP calls for a decentralized hybrid system that generally consists of a core ERP solution integrated with a mix of different cloud-based software – in other words, Salesforce + Rootstock ERP + ISV Partner Apps. And because of this, the savvy buyer acknowledges that “Salesforce and their Partners do compete and do participate in those most important SaaS markets of ERP and Supply Chain for Manufacturers!”
“Salesforce is famous for being a CRM, but it is also the first real application platform in the cloud you could trust your entire business to,” reports Stephen Simons, CIO of Direct Energy Solar. “Before we went with Salesforce and Rootstock,” says Simons, “we [had] millions of dollars in inventory that we were carrying at any point in time and, in any given month, we had numerous inventory adjustments. But since going with Rootstock/Salesforce,” he said, “that same inventory adjustment is reliably under $10,000 every month and since 2012, we’ve grown over four times.”
Who Looks To Salesforce For ERP?
Jan Baan, the noted former chairman and CEO of Baan Software and founder and director of Vanenburg Software, now sells Rootstock’s Cloud ERP manufacturing software via the Salesforce.com portal through Vanenburg Software in the Netherlands and other European countries, providing strong competition to players such as Oracle and SAP.
As Director of CIM at Gartner Group, T. Lee Wylie is the person who actually created the concept of ERP to describe the evolution of MRP into next generation business systems. Today, Wylie is chairman of the ERP Executive Vision Council for Rootstock and by being ISV partners, his vision extends Salesforce’ presence in ERP.
Bottom Line – The Salesforce Platform Provides Outstanding ERP
As potential competitors of Salesforce consider entering the market, we’re always amused – and somewhat irritated – by comments that they will produce a better platform for this group, that group, specific applications and so on and so on than Salesforce. Countering yet another allegation by Ellison, Steve Brooks explained in Enterprise Times on March 16, 2016, ” What [Salesforce has] is a developer ecosystem that is constantly growing and with new industry platforms.” With over 2,800 applications and 3+ million downloads, it is now the de facto standard for business applications in the cloud. And, as the world moves away from the single-vendor on premise strategy to post-modern ERP, Salesforce’s market position is beginning to look a lot stronger than Ellison claims.