Salesforce.com Boosts Enterprise SAAS via Google Visualization API
Salesforce.com leverages Google's Visualization API to let programmers build business intelligence reporting and analysis tools for their enterprise applications. The move is the latest integration between Google and Salesforce.com, which are trying to foment a SAAS ecosystem as an alternative to on-premises applications from Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and others.Salesforce.com has built software tools to let developers write applications with Google's Visualization API, which lets programmers create reporting tools and dashboards that may be published anywhere on the Web for business intelligence and analysis.
The SAAS (software as a service) vendor will announce the integration at its Dreamforce event in San Francisco Nov. 3. The move is the latest in a series of integration pacts between Google and Salesforce.com. Both companies are trying to push the cloud computing ecosystem, in which apps are hosted by software vendors instead of customer data centers as an alternative to on-premises applications from Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and others.
Salesforce.com's new tools, represented as Force.com Apex code classes, aim to make the Google Visualization API easier to use on its SAAS platform. For example, a Salesforce.com.com partner could create a business intelligence app featuring reporting tools and dashboards that enable customers to gain more insight into their CRM data.
There are a host of scenarios for such BI utilities, Nir Bar-Lev, a Google senior product manager, told eWEEK ahead of the event. In another practical example, Bar-Lev said personal finance site Stockalicious is using the API to provide a dashboard instead of buying one from a systems vendor.
Salespeople and marketing workers can use such tools to better understand business processes and better serve their customers. Human resources departments may use such BI tools internally to help illuminate employee status, while financial analysts could have a field day rendering their business analyses with the API.
The latest Google-Salesforce.com integration isn't a one-off; the move comes concurrent with the opening of the Google Visualization API to any third-party programmer, a major expansion over what Google previously offered.
When Google launched the Visualization API in March, it strictly opened the client side, so developers could only display their own information. Programmers could build dashboard and reporting apps, but the API wouldn't let them connect to any data sources beyond Google spreadsheets from the Google Docs suite. Bar-Lev added:
"We are opening up the protocol, documenting how anyone can do the same thing on their own application or data sources. Imagine opening up a SQL database or an Excel file within your domain or intranet and publishing that on the Web through one of the visualization tools we already have or will be developed in the future, anywhere on the Web."
Providing APIs for other programmers to build applications is not a new practice for Google, but it's one the company is sticking to fiercely to foster the evolving SAAS ecosystem.
Salesforce.com just happens to be the premier SAAS candidate to work with Google on this, but other startups can feel free to jump into the game, thanks to the new openness.
Salesforce.com plans to briefly touch on the integration in a keynote Nov. 3 at Dreamforce, while Google will note it Nov. 4. Bar-Lev is leading a session Nov. 5 and will discuss it in detail then as well.