E-Handbook:

Compare top CRM systems: SAP, Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle

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CRM platform wars heat up

When looking at the top CRM systems vendors, it might be interesting gossip to ruminate on whether Oracle founder Larry Ellison and his Salesforce counterpart Marc Benioff like each other when they're off the clock -- despite public pronouncements that seem to indicate otherwise. 

It might be interesting to think about whether "frenemies" Microsoft and Salesforce are friends or cutthroat competitors, considering the changing nature of their relationship.

But the truth is, different CRM systems cater to different types of organizations. While SAP would positively love to poach Salesforce's customers and vice versa, it's hard to woo a customer running SAP products for many business processes away from SAP because its CRM is so tightly integrated. Ditto for Microsoft and Oracle shops.

Salesforce is the wild card because it is the undisputed heavyweight of cloud CRM software revenue-wise and made its name through adaptability with whatever brand of software customers use for back-office IT. Another Salesforce advantage is familiarity. While it might take training to teach a new hire or an organization's whole sales staff how to use Oracle CRM, chances are many of those salespeople have used Salesforce during their careers and come with a baseline comfort of how it works.

As each of the top CRM systems vendors improves its products, enterprises have more choices than ever before. The "big four" are racing not only to complete their CRM products with sales, service, marketing and e-commerce in the cloud, but also to make their products as extensible as possible. There are more and more examples of "hybrid shops" running sales on one vendor's cloud but marketing automation on a competitor's. This handbook provides an update on where we are in the CRM platform wars and where we're going.

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