By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2003-12-01 Print this article Print

-Degree View of Data"> So contract management was the first back-office application to be released? Thats one of the first back-office applications, yeah. But its also a CRM application. What were building is a 360-degree view of our customers data. Customers want to be able to see the contract data; theyll see it in the sales data, the service data, the marketing data. And with Sforce, they can create all kinds of new applications, too. Sforce means you can create whatever application you want and use Salesforce.com and Sforce to manage it.
We demonstrated collateral fulfillment, we demonstrated commission management, weve got all kinds of different modules and components as examples of what customers can build and run and extend in Salesforce.com. But the cool thing is that once theyve built these modules and integrated them in our database, we manage all that code for them. We host it and run it for them.
So is your back-office strategy going to be more about allowing customers to build their own back-office applications using Sforce? We have a lot of back-office technology in our data schema already, but … the reality is a lot of customers already have their financial system. So they really want to integrate us. But there arent that many integration points between CRM and ERP. We want it to make it so that its very easy to integrate. So we have relationships with TIBCO [Software Inc.]—we have the Salesforce.com/TIBCO integration server—so you can connect to SAP [AG applications], you can connect to Oracle [Corp. applications], you can connect to PeopleSoft [Inc. software]. We also have our ebridge adapters so you can connect to all the low-end products—the [Microsoft Corp.] Great Plainses and the Solomons and the Intuits and all them—we offer that ebridge connectivity. Also we have for back-office integration, enterprise application links, which has been very popular [with] customers that have used them. Were cautious about entering the general ledger marketplace; were more aggressive about entering the accounts receivable marketplace. Youve been talking about offering back-office applications since at least spring of last year. Why has it taken so long to come out with these applications? Were really spending time doing it right. Weve done a lot of integration work with customers that we havent talked about. If you go back on your notes, youll see that theres things were introducing now that are new things because customers came back to us and said, "You know what, Im less concerned about you releasing the general ledger. Were more concerned about you making sure that we have good integration with SAP." So, youll see us announcing more and more customers whove done deep integration with their enterprise ERP systems. And were trying to give them the capability to do that. We want to make sure that we bring three messages across. One, you can customize. Two, you can integrate. Three, you can deploy globally. Were adding a lot of core features and functions to do that. So when can we expect to see the order management and accounts receivable services? Were anticipating those in the second quarter of 2004. Were running a lot of customers through focus groups with this stuff and seeing honestly how interested they are. If you look at a product like NetSuite [Inc.s namesake hosted applications] or some of these other integrated offerings, or even Oracle itself, if a suite was the most important thing for customers today, Oracle would be the largest ERP vendor in the world. Or SAP CRM would be beating Siebel in the marketplace and in market share. But the reality is that customers look to different vendors for different kinds of capabilities. As weve talked to customers, thats become more and more illuminated. Oracle is very brainwashed about the suite, the suite, the suite. It turns out that customers are less interested in the suite and more interested in making sure that youre running their lines of business efficiently. Next page: UpShot has them all fooled.


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