I have spoken to many customers recently who are thinking of migrating from a Salesforce Portal to Salesforce Communities,
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and want to know what differs between the two platforms. First off, there are many ways the two are similar – at the most basic level, both Portals and Communities allow you to leverage the power of the Force.com platform to build your portal or community. However, there are some fundamental differences between the two.
Here are the top 10 features that you get with Salesforce Communities that you do not get with Salesforce Portals:
- Partners, customers, and employees can all access the same community – no more silos!
- One user can access multiple communities, meaning one username and password to remember, and only one license to buy per user.
- Engage your customers and partners using Chatter. Bonus: if you enable Chatter (and it is an option), you can also use the Global Search.
- Ability to build self-service communities using the Community Designer templates. These templates can be quickly implemented and they’re mobile-ready.
- Access to Site.com, a WYSIWG editor that you can use to build individual web pages or your entire community.
- Deflect cases using Chatter Questions, the replacement product for Chatter Answers.
- View Dashboards (certain licenses only).
- Refreshed CSS – if you build your Community using Force.com, the out-of-the-box Community will look almost exactly like native Salesforce. Too Salesforce-like for you? We can easily override this CSS to make it exactly like your website.
- Better out-of-the-box URL customization. See my blog on how to Customize Your Salesforce Community URL.
- Community dashboards – these packages, Communities with Chatter & Communities without Chatter, are available on the AppExchange and allow you to monitor your community’s health. There was nothing like this available with portals and they are extremely helpful in measuring adoption.
If none of this inspires you to migrate, a new feature in the future may. Salesforce is no longer investing in portals whereas they are heavily investing in Communities, and each release Communities get more and more powerful.