An important decision that comes to all companies before building out an application, is the decision to use either an app builder like Salesforce, where almost no prior coding experience is required, or a web development framework, like Ruby on Rails, C#, Java, or Django (we will simply refer to rails for now). It’s an important decision that will determine the development path to follow. In this article, I’m going to go over the benefits of both Salesforce and Ruby on Rails in order to help you make an educated decision on what path you would like to follow.

Salesforce

 

Pros:

Streamlined – Salesforce strives to be an end to end software data tool to manage your complete enterprise. You can easily connect all your employees using streamlined tools and applications that come out of the box. This requires fewer resources overall and allows you to manage your business from anywhere.

Mobile First – Salesforce also gives companies and developers an easy way to create your mobile applications. In fact, it’s touted as being built mobile-first. The instant you create an app for your browser, a clean-looking mobile version is generated that can be used by all users.

Simple – As you may be able to tell from the previous benefits of Salesforce, it is built to be straight forward. Salesforce is proud to note that their software can be managed by others who have have less technical experience. This is especially true due to Salesforce’s own Trailhead, which is “The fun way to learn Salesforce”.

Cons:

Limited Customization – There isn’t much customization for how Salesforce apps work and look.  If you purchase a solution that is built on top of Salesforce, you are often limited in your ability to customize how it will work as you now rely on Salesforce updates. For users on Salesforce, some functionality may break after Salesforce update. Updates usually consist of large layout changes to the platform, causing problems to the businesses using it by making some important features now hard to find. This also gives new Salesforce businesses a learning curve around the Salesforce system, not the business.

Expensive – While Salesforce seems inexpensive out of the gate, costs can quickly escalate out of control.  If your ROI (return on investment) isn’t there, Salesforce will be an anchor instead of a rocket boost.  Many times, the rising costs of additional but much needed capability causes subscription creep that the company is saddled with.

Developers Needed – Many companies try and wedge in a java or .net programmer and tell them to code up Salesforce apps or integration only to find that they cannot do the work. To build and operating in Salesforce at a deeper technical level, you need to have experiences certified Salesforce personnel on your team.

Building From Scratch – Ruby on Rails/Django

 

Pros:

Application Flexibility – If you are building a specialized software product, rails is also no doubt one of the best for designing a customized platform.  Rails allows you to customize everything from design, to workflow, to api exposure. In Rails, because developers practically start from the ground up, you can put a very personal touch on your app.

Platform Flexibility – There are no platform limitations.  If you can think of it, you can build it.  You are not limited to restrictions. Building your apps in Rails will also save you from worrying about third parties. With Rails, the only business you need to rely on is your own.

Cost – For smaller companies with developer experience looking to start up a new application can find Rails applications to be more affordable with server usage being the only minimal cost.

Cons:

Experienced Developers – Working on a Ruby on Rails web-app will require one or multiple experienced developers. Connecting your users is also a greater hassle as well, compared to Salesforce.

 

Conclusion

If you are looking for a flexible and cheap way to create a CRM, then building your application from scratch would be your best choice! Especially if you are looking to create a much more personalized CRM that works your way. On the other hand, if you are looking for something simple and streamlined, Salesforce is the choice for you! As anyone can learn Salesforce! In the end, it’s whatever benefits your business the most, for whatever its needs may be. You could even do both, with the ability to integrate the Salesforce API into your Rails project.

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