Microsoft to Craft Titan
as On-Demand Platform"> With Microsofts long-awaited CRM 4.0 release, better known as Titan, expected in December, Salesforce.com may finally end its designation as a party of one in the on-demand development platform category. The question is, How long will it take Microsoft, a slow-moving technology behemoth if previous releases are any indication, to catch up with Salesforce.com in a market Salesforce created?"[We] will add CRM [customer relationship management], and we will add an application development platform for departments and small businesses called Titan. In the case of Titan, theres an opportunity for you to build applications that would literally run on our servers," Ballmer said. "You have to use the kind of declarative programming model, workflow model on which our own CRM product is built, but you can, of course, write your own Titan applications on either on-premises hosted or hosted in our data centers," he said. Salesforce.com, in less cryptic language, has been marketing its platform capabilities for the past year. In October 2006 the company unveiled its Apex on-demand programming language and platform. This year, Salesforce.com announced Force.com (dubbed platform-as-a-service), which bundles development "services," including custom user interface and logic building capabilities along with database and integration capabilities. Force.com also includes AppExchange, Salesforce.coms application marketplace thats been compared, by the company mainly, to eBay and Amazon.com for the business world. Read more here about the introduction of the Force.com platform. At its partner conference this summer, Microsoft said its building its own marketplace, expected in 2008, that will be an online environment where partners can showcase their company, applications and templates to customers, who can, in turn, download functionality and rate partner efforts. Ditto for AppExchange. What Microsoft will offer with Titan is an on-demand, multitenant application development platform. Whats not clear yet is how mature those capabilities will be. Eric Berridge, CEO and co-founder of BlueWolf, an on-demand system integrator with close ties to Salesforce.com, has watched Microsofts Titan release closely. He said Microsoft has made a wise move in building Titan, but the company has a ways to go in the on-demand development world. "The reason Microsoft came out with Titan at all is a defensive move against Salesforce.comperiod," said Berridge. It is a good first step and a very wise move. But I dont know if they know if they can take it to the platform level. If you look at the customization capabilities in the on-premises version [of Dynamics CRM] it never evolved to the level of flexibility that other CRM packages have, so there are some decisions Microsoft will have to make." Page 2: Microsoft to Craft Titan as On-Demand Platform
While Microsoft has based its Titan marketing campaign on the softwares multitenant capabilities, CEO Steve Ballmer said in July at the companys Worldwide Partner conference that Titan will also be used as a platform for on-demand application development.