Updated on July 31, 2019
Knowing which Salesforce Cloud or Edition your company needs is not always a clear-cut decision. Salesforce offers many different bundles of features and services such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and more, all of which can be useful in different areas of your business.
Salesforce is continually updating their products to make them better, but it can be difficult to keep up with all the modifications and how they are licensed out to users. In the paragraphs below, we will go over the current Editions and features of Service Cloud, Chatter, and the Lightning Platform license types to help you understand some of the major differences. Ultimately, we want to help you decide which Cloud and Edition is right for your business. For differences between Sales Cloud license types, visit our Sales Cloud License Types blog post.
Salesforce License Types for Service Cloud
Service Cloud is Salesforce’s customer service platform most commonly used by companies who care about providing great contact center support to their clients. Service Cloud allows you to interact with your clients from anywhere with an internet connection via data stored in the cloud, and helps you manage customer cases to provide solutions to your client’s questions/issues. Service Cloud comes in four editions: Essentials), Professional), Enterprise), and Unlimited.
Essentials and Professional Editions offer more basic case management functionality and are best suited for smaller-sized companies that need to offer support to their customers. Both Editions include access to a support agent console, case tracking, knowledge, web and email case capture, and auto-assignment and escalation rules. Enterprise and Unlimited Editions are the more robust Editions (and are more popular) as they provide advanced functionality and give you access to features such as service contracts, entitlements, and field service management. These Editions allows you to further customize and automate your environment, as well as provide API access so you can integrate it with other systems.
Salesforce Chatter Licenses
Salesforce Chatter is a communication platform that lives inside Salesforce and is included with all Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Lightning Platform licenses. If a user is assigned a Chatter External, Chatter Only, or Chatter Free license, they are allowed to communicate efficiently within your environment using Chatter, but these users do not have access to the full range of Salesforce functionality other licenses provide.
Chatter External licenses are intended to be used for individuals who are outside of your company’s email domain – namely customers who may need to interact with support agents via Chatter. They are only allowed to be included in Chatter groups that allow customers, and have no access to other objects or data in your organization.
Chatter Free licenses are a bit less restrictive than Chatter External licenses, and allow non-Salesforce users to post status updates, follow their coworkers, share files, and collaborate with colleagues. It includes access to the Chatter desktop client, Chatter feeds, file sharing, Chatter Groups, invitations, profiles, and status updates, but these users still cannot access other objects/data in your environment.
Chatter Only Licenses give access to all the Chatter Free features, and also include read-only access to Accounts and Contacts, allow users to view/modify up to 10 custom objects, allow access to dashboards and reports, and include a few other features. Chatter Only also gives users access to calendar and events, content, and tasks and activities. Chatter Only is a great way to expand the use of Salesforce in your organization to new departments outside of business development and customer service, while still maintaining low cost.
Lightning Platform Licenses
Lightning Platform Licenses can be purchased when you have at least one Enterprise or Unlimited Sales or Service Cloud license, and in the right situation, can be a great way to save your company money. The Lightning Platform includes all of the back-end functionality of Enterprise and Unlimited editions, including integration with other programs, automated workflow, custom objects and apps, Chatter, and Apex code, but Lightning Platform licenses have limited access to standard CRM objects such as Cases, Solutions, Campaigns, Leads, Opportunities, Products, Contracts, and Forecasts. Lightning Platform Licenses also provide API access, and are a great alternative to buying additional Salesforce licenses when the user only needs access to Accounts, Contacts, custom apps, and custom objects, but does not need to access Leads or Opportunities.
The Lightning Platform Starter license costs $25/user per month, and supports full access to Accounts and Contacts as well as 10 custom apps, 10 custom tabs, and up to 10 custom objects. This edition is ideal for many small and midsize companies. The Lightning Platform Plus license costs $100/user per month, and gives users 10 custom apps, 25 custom tabs, and up to 110 custom objects.
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