2018 Index | Software as Services/Cloud Breakdown

In the world of websites, Cloud sites are unique. Unlike most sprawling properties that are brimming with information, Cloud sites are compact with light content footprints. And while most sites focus on the all-important Contact Us button to engage with visitors, Cloud sites rely on invitations to View Demos.

Interestingly, the two Cloud sites on the eBusiness Index are also distinctively unique. Netsuite.com puts on a businesslike face that delivers rich content and subdued colors. Meanwhile, its Cloud competitor, Salesforce.com, uses a lively presentation teaming with bold imagery and bite-sized content.

There’s no doubt about it, these sites are as different as night and day, which begs the question, which approach is more effective – bold or businesslike? And can short summaries deliver marketing messages as well as rich content?


Product Marketing: In the Product Marketing category, Salesforce.com is the site to beat. It leads Netsuite.com by almost 15% in the breadth of information it delivers and in usability.

Salesforce.com and Netsuite.com take very different tacks when it comes to product marketing. Netsuite.com’s buttoned-down writing style contrasts sharply with Salesforce.com’s short, crisp content. Where you read Netsuite.com’s pages, you scan Salesforce.com’s. Since Salesforce.com’s approach aligns better with the “less is more” content style that visitors crave it is easier to understand, and, ultimately, more effective.

Services Marketing: The Services Marketing race is tighter, but Salesforce.com comes out on top again. Only 3% separate these sites when it comes to content, but a wide 15% gap stands between them in usability.

The Services content on both sites is meager, but Salesforce.com’s brief summaries, bold data points, and scannable page layouts give it a leg up to take the Usability win.

Industry Marketing: Salesforce.com may ace the Product and Services Marketing categories, but it fails to win the Marketing trifecta. Netsuite.com delivers far more industry-specific content than Salesforce.com, which hands it the win in the Industry Marketing category. However, Salesforce.com still manages to squeak by as the Usability leader.

Both sites do an exemplary job in presenting industry marketing content. They each provide a wealth of information (which bests even some of the largest sites on the Index) in scannable layouts. The differences between these sites is style. Salesforce.com’s bold design makes information jump out at the visitor whereas Netsuite.com’s businesslike approach is more subdued and subtle.

Call to Action

Salesforce.com steals the win in the Call to Action category by a wide 13% margin. The site provides more opportunities for visitors to engage with a salesperson, which makes them almost impossible to miss. But the secret to Salesforce.com’s success doesn’t just lie with the Contact Us button.

Salesforce.com uses every square inch of the page to engage with visitors. It’s always inviting them to do something – watch a demo, download an e-book, read a story, view detailed pricing. Conversely, Netsuite.com limits its opportunities to capture visitors’ attention at the top and bottom of the page with little in between.

Post Purchase Features

Salesforce.com proves to be the Post Purchase leader too. Not only does it best Netsuite.com in the amount of support and training content provided, but its clear page layouts and navigational nomenclatures make finding resources a breeze.

Salesforce.com goes above and beyond in the number of support resources it provides on public pages. Where Netsuite.com only provides support services information, Salesforce.com delivers that plus documentation, knowledgebase articles, and open support forums.

The same goes for training. Netsuite.com’s training offerings follow the enterprise playbook that requires visitors to register for all of its classes (with a 2-day wait time! YIKES!). Salesforce.com, on the other hand, offers free, on-site training in addition to its on-site and certification classes (which require registration).

Next Steps

If you haven’t checked out the latest Software as Services / Cloud rankings, then wander in that direction next. There you can find out who steals the win in Website Features, Usability, and Overall Performance.

Also, don’t miss the upcoming Index winners. Want to be the first in the know? Sign up for the siteIQ Digest and get the latest information into your inbox.

About the siteIQ eBusiness Index

siteIQ evaluated the twenty-five Websites listed on the 2018 siteIQ eBusiness Index. These Websites are categorized into eight industry-specific segments including:

  • Business Software (Adobe.com, Microsoft.com, Symantec.com, Citrix.com)
  • Cloud (Salesforce.com, Netsuite.com)
  • Enterprise Software (CA.com, IBM Software, Oracle.com, SAP.com)
  • Enterprise Systems (Dell.com, IBM.com, HPE.com)
  • Network Systems (Brocade.com, PaloAltoNetworks.com, Cisco.com, Juniper.net)
  • Professional Services (Accenture.com, Capgemini.com, Cognizant.com, IBM Global Services)
  • Consumer Systems (HP.com, Apple.com)
  • Enterprise Storage (EMC.com, NetApp.com)

These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2018 edition of the siteIQ eBusiness Index Best Practices Benchmark, which includes 18 distinct categories. Within each category, sites are scored based on three unique criteria:

  1. Website Features: The content, resources, assets, and collateral provided on any given Website. The siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark currently identifies & tracks over 1,000 types of Website features that represent typical competitive requirements. Within each category siteIQ analysts track the number — as well as quality — of features provided.
  2. Website Usability: The overall practicality, versatility, usefulness, and convenience of any given Website. The siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark currently includes 145 metrics that measure usability from the visitor’s perspective. Within each category siteIQ analysts score usability questions based on a strict set of standards to award between 1—100 points per question.
  3. Overall Performance: The aggregate suitability of any given Website that factors Website Features and Website Usability scores.

The 2018 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2018.

Category: Index Rankings

Class: Website Reviews and Rankings

Websites Profiled: siteIQ eBusiness Index Websites

Related Research:

2018 Index Rankings by Industry (login required):

2018 Index Best Practices by Industry:

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About the Author:

President of siteIQ :: I focus on best practices – and share with our clients and Library members how leading Web teams deliver world-class user experiences. My job is to find best practices and illustrate why they work. How the smartest Web teams innovate – and solve common problems. How leaders put the right pieces together to perfect effect.

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