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Is Salesforce’s Professional Edition Enough to Meet Your Business Needs?

April 9, 2019 in

Every company wants to keep costs low and profit high, and an investment in Salesforce has an inherent ongoing cost for annual license fees. Many Salesforce clients consider the Professional Edition for their needs because it is only half the price of the more-popular Enterprise Edition. The Professional Edition has a nice selection of great features, but the lower price tags comes with limitations that can cause clients to quickly outgrow this license tier and opt for Enterprise Edition instead.

In this article we will explore the advantages of both editions so you can make a more informed decision on which license is right for you. Read on and if you have any further questions, reach out to us to learn more about our Salesforce implementation services.

Advantages of Professional Edition

Cost is a major advantage of Professional vs. Enterprise Edition – at $75/user/month, it is half the cost of the $150 Enterprise Edition. For that price, you get some great standard Salesforce features:

  • Some customization of system and access permissions
  • Some automation via Process Builder and Flow – limited to 5 active processes
  • Basic reporting capabilities, including the ability to run summary or matrix reports
  • The popular and modern Lightning user interface, which allows for drag-and-drop customization of page layouts and is extendable with apps from the App Exchange
  • Many of the same productivity features as Enterprise, such as the Assistant, which prompts the user when key records have not had activity for some time
  • Data loading via the Import Wizard or through the dataloader.io website
  • Some validation rules and ability to make different page layouts for different needs

But now, we need to consider the features you miss out on with Professional Edition.  In some cases you may never miss them.  But if you have complex business processes or need to segment your data and system privileges among many different user types, Enterprise Edition might be a better fit.

Making the Case for Enterprise Edition

Below are the specific enhancements available when you choose Enterprise Edition:

  • Unlimited process automations via Process Builder and Flow. If you have data stored in many different objects, 5 Process Builders or Flows may not be enough to handle all your business automation needs.
  • Advanced reporting features. While Professional Edition comes with the same report builder and basic reports as Enterprise Edition, Enterprise adds 3 powerful features:
    • Cross filters – this feature allows you to run a report to show, for example, Accounts with Contacts vs. Accounts without Contacts. Using this feature can quickly help you locate records without relevant related records.
    • Joined Reports – a powerful way to combine your data across multiple objects that have at least one field in common. For example, you could combine a report showing Accounts with Cases and another report showing Accounts with Opportunities as a single report, joining the data using the Account information. You can combine information from up to 5 separate reports as long as they all have at least 1 field in common.
    • Bucketed columns – sometimes data does not fit neatly into simple ranges.  Bucketing allows you to group data in any way you choose
  • Apex code for more complex process automation. Although Process Builder and Flow are great tools, there are still limitations to what users can do with them. Here at HigherEchelon we always strive to deliver automation without using code, but sometimes it just is not possible to deliver the desired functionality without it. Fortunately, Salesforce allows you to have the best of both worlds – you can automate the majority of your processes with ‘clicks not code’ via Process Builder and Flow, and then add small amounts of code to handle the tasks that the point-and-click tools cannot do. In addition to automation, Apex code allows you to create more complex data validation rules beyond what point-and-click Validation Rules can handle. Finally, having Apex allows you to schedule jobs at will and perform on-demand rollup calculations with the popular, open-source Declarative Lookup Rollup Summary tool.
  • API access. This feature is available as a paid add-on to Professional Edition but is included in Enterprise Edition. API access gives you the ability to integrate with external systems, and also allows you to use the powerful, scriptable Data Loader tool to automate data loading, extract and manipulation.
  • Greater customization options. Professional Edition allows you to create 2 custom profiles to control system and data access, 2 roles and custom permissions for data reporting and visibility by echelon, and 3 record types to segment data within the same object. In businesses where there are more than a few users and each user needs very specific and restricted access to data or system features, Enterprise Edition might be a better fit.

So which Salesforce edition is right for your business? It depends.  

Consider Professional Edition if:

  • Most users will have the same level of access to system information
  • You do not have a need for extensive process automation
  • You just need basic reporting

Consider Enterprise Edition if:

  • You have multiple users who will require different levels of privileges
  • You want to automate many business processes
  • You have complex data needs
  • You want more robust reporting features

Keep in mind that the features included with each edition continuously change. Be sure to evaluate the latest edition update before making your decision. As always, HigherEchelon is here to help you make the most of your Salesforce investment. Contact us if you need help deciding which edition is best for you.