Bringing this new service to existing and potential customers was particularly important to keep them from moving to customer-service applications offered by RightNow Technologies Inc. or Siebel Systems Inc., Kingstone said. While it "might not amount to a huge new revenue stream for them," it will broaden the market opportunity for Salesforce.com, Kingstone said. The service is likely to appeal in particular to midmarket customers for whom traditional customer-service applications were too costly, too complex and too difficult to maintain in-house, Kingston said.Salesforce.com recently posted doubled revenue. Click here to read more. The Supportforce.com service is starting with seven production customers: Anystream Inc., Imceda Software Inc., Magma Design Automation Inc., Phoenix Technologies Inc., Polk Automotive Intelligence Inc., Neoforma Inc. and VF Imagewear Inc. Supportforce.com online applications include broad customer support, help-desk functionality, knowledge management, Web self-service and performance metrics to enable companies to gather, manage and share customer information within the organization, Benioff said. Each company that subscribes to the Supportforce.com service can create its own customer-service applications with a specialized user interface, workflow and data model. Salesforce.com has also extended its "Custom Tabs" interface to the Supportforce.com applications to allow companies to create specialized applications such as contact-center staffing. Supportforce also provides its own sforce telephony API toolkit to link customers contact-center applications with the telecommunications service of their choice. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Larger enterprises are more likely to have some kind of in-house customer-support application, such as those offered by Siebel or PeopleSoft Inc. But the Supportforce.com service also could appeal to larger enterprises if they see it as a way to cut costs, she said.