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  • Writer's pictureMatt Scheer

Salesforce SI vs. PDO: Which Do You Need?

SI Vs. PDO Salesforce Consultants

If you're part of the Salesforce ecosystem (and it doesn't matter if you're an administrator or a developer), you're familiar with one of the largest learning curves of the industry – AAA. That means Acronyms, Acronyms, Acronyms! Salesforce has a TON of them.

Living in the Salesforce realm means you need to know them AND use them if you want to be effectively understood by others in the field.

We've talked before about how you should be careful because the habit of using those abbreviations can be hard to break and can actually cause communication problems when talking to clients and stakeholders who aren't as Salesforce savvy as you.

Let's focus on two very unique examples of acronyms in the Salesforce field: PDO and SI. They're two of the least used, but potentially most important to know when it comes time to hiring a consultancy to make your project a reality. Many Salesforce partners strictly fit one category only, but the lab coats at CRM Science have experience in both arenas.

Understanding the difference between PDO and SI consultants and the types of challenges they solve is an essential step when dipping the first toe into the Salesforce ecosystem.

Difference between a Salesforce PDO and Salesforce SI

Here is the definition for Product Development Outsourcer (PDO) and System Integrator (SI):

Consultants with expertise in building commercial Salesforce applications are known as PDO consultants. The Salesforce platform is highly customizable, and PDO partners create apps to add functionality to Salesforce orgs beyond out-of-the-box tasks.

PDO partners build apps that can be distributed through the Salesforce AppExchange, which boasts more than 3,000 apps and components to enhance functionality for Salesforce products. A PDO partner can build simple apps users can open in Salesforce, like an enhanced user experience for the standard Salesforce functionality, or something more complex like a complete CPQ and billing transaction system. There are less than 20 Salesforce Certified PDOs in the world.

Working with PDO partners is more efficient than hiring internal developers to build custom apps that solve unique tech challenges. That’s because they have proven experience with navigating the approval process with the Salesforce Independent Software Vendor (ISV) team and can reach project completion faster.

Consultants specializing in the implementation and configuration of Salesforce products are called SI consultants. About 1,400 Salesforce SI consulting partners are active globally.

SI partners provide consultative services to build, optimize, integrate and configure Salesforce orgs. Many SI partners even provide user adoption and training services to clients.

Most SI partners specialize in certain industries, Salesforce products, or types of projects. For example, CRM Science works with a variety of industries including financial services, manufacturing, and the nonprofit sector.

How to Choose the Right Salesforce Consultant

Choosing the right Salesforce consultant or consultancy may require some exploration into the types of solutions involved with a particular challenge, and the answer to whether a PDO or SI should handle a project depends on who the end-user for the solution will be.

A PDO creates a product for their client to distribute to their client's end-users while an SI provides a direct service by implementing or improving your organization’s own Salesforce instance for internal use. This may be a clear difference, but stakeholders don’t always know which solution they need as they leave the starting gate.

For example, if you want enhancements to your internal Salesforce org such as implementing an event management system, then contact an SI partner. If you want a distributable product that can assist your clients in implementing an event management solution, then contact a PDO partner.

Hiring Internal Salesforce Developers vs. Salesforce PDO partners

For very large and ongoing PDO projects, hiring internal developers can be an option. However, choosing a PDO partner is often the more efficient solution. They are already equipped with a skilled Salesforce team, and they have experience navigating the Salesforce AppExchange program.

Some of the challenges that businesses face when hiring internal development teams to build applications and components on the Salesforce platform include:

  • Recruitment/Lack of skilled people available in the workforce

  • Salary and benefit investment

  • Lack of people with knowledge of Salesforce ISV Partnership, AppExchange Listing, and Security Review processes

  • Training and support for internal employees

  • Tools and technology investment

Companies can avoid the challenges that come with assembling skilled application developer teams from scratch by working with certified Salesforce PDO partners.

Contact CRM Science Salesforce Consultants

As one of less than 20 Salesforce certified PDOs, CRM Science can solve unique business challenges through application building AND system integration. Contact us to learn how we can solve your Salesforce puzzle.

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