Salesforce.com is to include analytics functionality in some versions of its CRM software after bowing to customer pressure and performing a u-turn on its pricing strategy.
Salesforce.com's upcoming Analytics Edition features will now be included in the Enterprise and Unlimited editions of its CRM suites at no additional cost. The company initially said it considered the analytics capabilities to be an entirely new product and was originally planning to charge $40 per user per month for the capabilities.
Customers had argued that the features were enhancements to the products’ current functionality and the analytics capabilities should have been used to fill long-standing gaps in the products' core functionality, and not sold separately. Salesforce.com charges $125 per user per month for the Enterprise edition of its CRM suite, and $250 for the Unlimited edition.
Commenting in a blog post this week, Salesforce.com chief operating officer George Hu said: "In December, we pre-announced a new set of enterprise analytics capabilities on our blog. While we viewed this as a new product, feedback from customers clearly showed they view these features as enhancements to our current functionality. We got it wrong, and we sincerely apologize to our customers," he wrote.
Customers mounted a social media campaign against the proposed charges, ironic given that Salesforce.com has made social media a central tenet to its marketing and product strategies. "Reporting has been a very poor part of Salesforce's solution for years and [with] each renewal we've been told that better reporting functionality is coming," one wrote on the Analytics Edition blog post.
Another said that knowing that so many users have been asking for a very long time for this kind of functionality, and then making them pay for it is was tantamount to “holding our data hostage."
The company announced Analytics Edition, which will be part of its Spring 2012 release, last year. Analytics Edition will include several capabilities, such as joined reports, data "bucketing" and cross-filtering, according to an official blog post written in December.
"In general, features that you'd find in a BI tool would go into Analytics Edition, other features would be included with the other licenses," the post said. Salesforce.com said it planned to continue enhancing the reporting features included with its CRM software, such as by increasing the number of filters on dashboards, it added.