Page Two

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2003-05-09 Print this article Print

By default, Salesnet works without an SSL connection, which will be a problem for some customers. Administrators, however, can force SSL, tweak log-in attempt rules and set up passwords to expire on a timed basis.

In tests with SSL turned on, Salesnet slowed down—from performance in the excellent range to worst overall. What took 10 seconds without SSL took 20 seconds with SSL. Organizations will need to decide whether the security of SSL log-ins is worth the performance hit.

Among the hosted competitors, Salesnet has the richest offline client software, but it is also the most limited. Salesnet was the last major CRM ASP to offer an offline client, but the software leapfrogs its competitors in terms of functionality. The problem is that it requires Microsofts .Net Framework, and it runs only on Windows.

Behind the scenes, Salesnet is based on Windows technology, and most of it uses .Net; however, Salesnet is still evaluating the use of Microsofts BizTalk as a core integration strategy. We found this odd but not limiting, since Salesnet has some of the strongest integration capabilities out there.

Salesnet has a three-pronged approach to integration. For simple integration projects, Salesnet allows users to embed URLs into Salesnet fields. These hyperlinks can pull data from other sources and push data back to them. For simple reads and writes, hyperlinking may be the way to go: It provides some flexibility since hyperlinks can launch applications. However, the limitation with hyperlinks is that, generally speaking, they need to be processed—that is, someone has to click on them.

For more complex integrations, Salesnet provides 25 Web service APIs for its core modules, including Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities and Custom Fields. Organizations with strong IT departments may opt to write their own connections. However, in the midmarket, chances are good that this level of integration will need to be left to an integrator.

Salesnets third integration strategy is through partnerships, including one with AptSoft Corp., a startup specializing in integration.

Usability Excellent
Capability Fair
Performance Fair
Interoperability Good
Manageability Good
Scalability Good
Security Fair
Executive Summary

Salesnet is strictly a sales force automation ASP, but its a best-of-class SFA solution. Salesnet ( also has a good strategy for tying into other business applications. The services dashboard-style interface is appealing but slow. In addition, the service defaults to a non-SSL connection, and turning on SSL slows performance.

(+) Best-of-class SFA solution; great reporting capabilities; enviable workflow-creation tools; well-rounded development strategy.

(-) Slow performance in SSL mode; difficult to interact with otherwise-nice dashboard; defaults to non-SSL connection.

Price $99 per user per month for Extended Edition.

CRM Systems Go Head to Head:
Labs Director John Taschek can be reached at

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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