Stop acting Professional!

My local Salesforce User Group leader always starts our meetings with the Benioff-flavored “Raise your hand if…” questions, and inevitably, there is always a round of “What edition are you using?” To this day, it still shocks me that there are people still on Professional Edition.

So what is a company truly missing if they are only on Professional Edition? In my mind, they are missing all the really powerful things about the platform, but let’s dig in & spell out what each of those things are.

  • Customization limitations – This is huge & probably the most significant (to me at least). Yes, you can still make custom fields & objects, but you have a much smaller pool that you are dealing with. While the numbers on the PE side may sound like a lot, speaking from experience, you will burn through these fast. Here’s a quick snapshot of the most significant of these limitations:
    • Custom Fields: 100/object in PE vs 500/object in EE
    • Custom Objects: 50 in PE vs 200 in EE
    • Custom Tabs: 10 in PE vs 25 in EE
    • Custom Report Types: 50 in PE vs 200 in EE
  • Report Filter Limitations – OK, this one I didn’t even know until I started digging in to this, and WHOA! In PE, you can only have 5 field filters on a report. I still struggle with the 10 filter limit in EE, I can’t even imagine having only 5!
  • Validation Rules – Ever since the existance of validation rules, I’ve been a heavy user of them. They are a great way for us Button-Click Admins to prevent poor data entry & keep our databases clean. While PE does have the ability to do them, there is a limit of 20 per object (vs 100 per object in EE and above).

You may be thinking, “Well, all of that kind of stinks, but I can make it work. I’ll just scale back.” Sure maybe, but now let’s look at what PE doesn’t have at all:

  • Workflow – to me, this is the bread-and-butter of making Salesforce do things “auto-magically.” Firing field updates, emails and task creation with ZERO coding ability is one of my favorite things to do in Salesforce & this is not available in PE.
  • Approval automation – Do you want your sales reps to get approval from a manager before giving an 80% discount? Probably, but you won’t be able to automate that process in a PE edition of Salesforce. This functionality even generates a visio of your approval process.
  • A sandbox – To me, this is another no-brainer. Enterprise & above editions come with at least one sandbox environment to test changes before putting them into production.
  • Profiles & Page layouts – Do your customer service reps need to see data points that your sales reps don’t? Should a customer record look different & contain different information than a prospect record? Without profiles and page layouts, these things aren’t possible. Only one view of the world exists in a PE org. (These are available for an additional fee in PE however.)
  • Access to some partner products – Very often, products on the AppExchange just don’t work with Professional Edition, plain & simple.
  • Scheduled dashboard refreshes – Again, this goes back to automation. My sales managers think that it great that every Monday morning, they get an up-to-date dashboard emailed to them of our numbers. It makes me look on top of my game, but this is a set-it-and-forget-it project that runs itself, and you can’t do it in PE.
  • API access – If you need Salesforce to integrate with any other program, then PE just isn’t going to cut it for you because it doesn’t have API access. That right there is probably a key factor for a lot of companies.
  • Entitlements & milestones – A new feature in the platform, but it’s not available in PE or lower editions.
  • Exportable backup data – Any EE or UE customer can sign up to receive backup files of their data as CSV files. Again, while this isn’t standard PE functionality, it can be added on with an additional cost.
  • Dynamic dashboards – To be fair, these only recently became available in EE, so we did without for awhile too. But imagine this – a world where you don’t have to clone & rebuild a dashboard for every sales rep. Ahhh…bliss!

I didn’t touch on sales teams, territories or the offline access that you also miss out on if you are using PE, mostly because I don’t have a ton of experience with any of them. If any of my readers want to provide some useful comments there, it’d be much appreciated.

You can see Salesforce.com’s PDF comparing the 5 editions here to get some more information. And a huge thanks to Matt(@midlakewinter) for inspiring this post.

Potential topic for next week – how a button-clicker wrote her first trigger. Stay tuned!

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15 Responses to “Stop acting Professional!”

  1. Becka, this is such a timely post! I was just sending the edition comparison PDF to someone yesterday to give then the high level differences. This is a fantastic bunch of additional info that they would not get in most places. Thank you and Matt for all the research. This article is going directly into Evernote for forever reference.

  2. Great summary! I would also add that there is no Apex support in PE, so no custom logic can be written. This is why a lot of partner applications don’t work in PE, unless they have gone through a special approval process with Salesforce to be approved for PE use.

    • Ahh, thank you for shedding some light on that. The AppExchange is so rich with great products (lots of which are free), and it’s too bad that PE users have to miss out on that.

  3. YES! It is tough in PE land.

    But we are a resourceful lot (aka necessity is the mother of invention). I’ve done some pretty interesting things with buttons and retURL strings. But 90% of those features listed are drooling inducing.

    Thanks a ton Becka for laying all these out in one place!

  4. Excellent post and summary of the features Enterprise Edition gives you. And I agree; for users of Salesforce, EE gives oh so much more…

    The only thing I would comment on is that many of my clients use Professional Edition as a starting point in the genesis of becoming Salesforce advocates. I run my implementations, company, even life by the mantra of “Crawl, Walk, Run”. As such, unless there is a use case for one of the features (workflows, approvals, or multiple page layouts/granular security) I have no issue with people starting off using PE. It allows them to dip their feet into the waters, and start crawling through the application while also saving corporate funds. Using this as a starting point, many of my clients not only end up upgrading to Enterprise (or even Unlimited) within 12 months, they have also expanded their user base from the original department to new areas within the firm.

    • I can see how it makes sense as a starting point, and it’d be interesting to see upgrade statistics for PE to EE (especially in the first 12 months). I imagine that it has to be pretty high.

  5. This is an excellent list and a must-read for any business trying to weigh the difference. Looking at a feature grid with a bunch of checkboxes just doesn’t suffice. For me, the showstopper would be the entire lack of Force.com platform. No triggers, no classes, no visualforce, nada. Not a big deal for many companies, but it really ties my hands when trying customize to fit their business.
    Thanks for the great post.

    • It’s funny too, because if you look at that PDF, it looks like a difference of about 6 checkboxes, which really doesn’t really explain how different these two are.

      And you’re welcome!

  6. Ha… I still never understand why people opt for professional edition in first place… o.O

  7. Good post and I will likely point customers to it as they weigh those differences. However, do note that EE (using List Price) is double the cost of PE. I am sure that’s a big consideration. There are lots of small companies using Salesforce and just can’t afford EE (yet).

    If there was 1 thing that I wish Salesforce would put into PE, it’s Workflow. It’s one thing that would make a tremendous difference when implementing PE for customers. Without it and without coding options, the system is not “living” and is more of an entry and reporting system. I understand code being on EE, but think Workflow should be inPE.

    It’s not an enormous sample, but probably has some statistical relevance… Installs of my apps is distributed with about 13% UE, 60% EE, 21% PE, 6% GE.

  8. I agree that the difference is striking, but so is the price. 10 users of PE is $780 and EE is $1500, and many companies simply aren’t ready for the automation or developer tools. Remember, it’s a terrible idea to try and automate a bad or non-existing process.

    If you’re an early life cycle account, and don’t need roles, forecasts, dashboards or campaigns, I suggest to go with Group edition, because it’s fraction the cost of PE and EE.

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