Small Is Beautiful: Cloud Technologies Favor Small Companies
Salesforce.com with the Match My Email Add-On Offers Exceptional Value to SMB’s
For most things in life, the more you buy the lower the unit price. Volume discounts are the norm in commercial and private transactions. Purchasing volume translates into pricing power. But in the cloud, surprisingly, the inverse relationship often takes place; small consumers get a better deal than large corporations.
Salesforce.com with the Mail My Email, the email integration add-on, is a case in point. Salesforce.com offers a Group Edition that costs $25 per user per month. True, the Group Edition is limited to five users in an “organization”. Above five users, you have to buy the Professional Edition for $65 per user per month – not very fair to the six-person companies of the world. The Group Edition has other limitations, most important of which is that it only works with one external application. Most Salesforce.com “organizations” do need at least two external ‘apps’ to be competitive, namely an email syncing and logging tool and a web form-to-Lead solution.
But from a data and file storage perspective, the Group Edition is a much better deal than the larger and more costly editions. All Salesforce.com editions include a minimum 1GB of Data Storage and 11GB of File Storage per “organization”. Data Storage is where structured data is stored; structured data can be full-text searched for easier retrieval. File Storage stores unstructured data or a whole file by its file format or extension type; File Storage cannot be full text searched, but it does have the advantage that it retains its native image resolution and formatting.
Storage space is really important if the goal of a CRM system is to have all of the interactions with the customer or account in one convenient place – phone calls and emails. Otherwise, the sales rep wastes a lot of time jumping back and forward between the CRM and their email account. So the key to CRM productivity is to have all the email messages with external customers and prospects embedded into each customer record. This is what the Match My Email add-on does. It syncs and logs emails to records in Salesforce.com, fully automatically, in the cloud. But emails take up space in Salesforce.com.
With Salesforce.com, for a Group Edition organization with five users, each user is allocated 200MB of Data Storage and 2.2GB of File Storage. Data Storage is used to store the email body, while File Storage is where attachments are stored. With the Group Edition including the Match My Email plug-in, each user can store 33,333 emails before he or she runs out of space. Based on actual usage data compiled by Match My Email, the average sales rep logs 25 emails per day to Salesforce.com, about one every twenty minutes. At that rate, a Group Edition organization with five users can store four years worth of emails in Salesforce.com before running out of space. [A single user gets an even better deal and can store more than 10 years of emails without hitting any storage limits].
Compare the Group Edition storage allocations to a Professional Edition organization with 25 users. The Professional Edition organization only gets 40MB of Data Storage per user – 1/5 of the Group Edition — and 612MB of File Storage per user (minimum File Storage per user with Salesforce.com is 612MB). For a 25-person Professional Edition SFDC organization, each user can store only 9 months worth of email before he or she runs out of Data Storage. Then the company has to pay Salesforce.com an additional $300 per year or $25 per month to get each user an additional year of email storage capacity. That is an extra $7,500 per year for the organization for each year of stored email in Salesforce.com.
Even worse is the Enterprise Edition with 50 users. The Enterprise Edition organization only gets 20MB per of Data Storage per user – 1/10 of what the Group Edition organization gets. 20MB equates to a 4-month supply of Data Storage for emails.
The Unlimited Edition offers 120MB of Data Storage per user, but it costs an extra $125 per month or $1,500 per year. The Extra 100MB of Data Storage costs, after adjustments for added functionality, is the equivalent of $6,000 per GB per year. Salesforce.com Data Storage is prohibitively expensive and limits the ability of larger companies to implement email integration into their Salesforce.com “organization”. Even IBM mainframe storage is cheaper than that.
20MB of Data File storage per user is a very small storage allotment for an Enterprise Edition implementation of more than 49 users. It reminds me of the disk drive on my first MacIntosh in 1990. It belongs to a bygone world of green screens and alphanumeric rending, not the age of high definition, touch, social networking and the iPhone with its 64GB of onboard memory. [64GB of Data Storage at Salesforce.com costs $384,000 per year, say what?].
Salesforce.com needs to rethink their Data Storage pricing. It defies common sense because Data Storage is more expensive the more of it the company needs and purchases. It also makes email integration prohibitively expensive for large organizations – yet large organizations need email integration due to their complexity and turnover even more than small organizations. This may be a conscious Salesforce strategy to reduce processing load and the size of the overall database in their cloud, but it needs to be changed. Data Storage should be cheap.
Salesforce.com storage pricing policies discriminate against large companies – unless list pricing is a total shame – and favor small companies.
Small appears to be beautiful at Salesforce.com.