Last week brought us the news that two of the most significant players in the CRM market, Salesforce and Microsoft had struck a deal. Salesforce Marketing Cloud will soon be hosted by Microsoft Azure. At the same time Microsoft Teams, a Slack Messaging alternative, will be integrated with Salesforce Sales CRM and Service Cloud.
When we were first designing Crust’s product strategy, our research showed that Salesforce Chatter, the internal messaging system on the cloud-only platform, was the most disappointing element of its portfolio. In its place, we decided to implement a core Messaging system inspired by Slack’s architecture and feature set. This feature set is already included in our Sales CRM and Service Solution.
Why was Slack-like Messaging of such interest? At Crust, we believe that openness, consistency and standardisation of data architecture are critical to the healthy long-term functioning of a business. Cobbled-together data architectures are expensive to maintain, and it’s always the customer that pays. Crust and our community project, Corteza, avoid such complexity by default. Our Messaging can suck in data from thousands of different sources if we wish and standardise that data for use across our various applications. Try to do that with email…
At Crust, we believe that openness, consistency and standardisation of data architecture are critical to the healthy long-term functioning of a business.
It remains to be seen what Salesforce’s decision to hold hands with Microsoft means in terms of businesses’ data sovereignty. Recently, Google’s been accused of health data stockpiling, and one of the concerns is that data from one service will be used to promote others. Is it possible someday that Microsoft buys Salesforce outrightly, giving it unfettered access to all activity on the powerful trio of Salesforce, LinkedIn and Skype? That’s a lot of sensitive trading data and intellectual property, and it highlights the big question of a data grab where Microsoft may find itself wandering into antitrust territory once again.
However, let’s face it; this is all about money. The real costs of Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics365 already border on extortionate. How much more customers can be “locked-in” by dependence on the vendors’ closed business logic implementations and hoisted with new charges remains to be seen. If history is any measure, then they usually find a way.
Crust will always aim to include market-leading features, will always provide familiar UI’s and UX and will always be 100% free and open. Our strategy to offer a robust, self-hosted alternative to Salesforce looks more aligned than ever.
So is Salesforce copying Crust’s strategies? Maybe just a little wink in our direction with their Microsoft Teams integration, but for the rest, we’re a whole lot safer and less expensive a bet 😉
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