Companies of All Sizes Plugging into the Salesforce CRM Ecosystem

Cisco and Dun & Bradstreet shared exhibit space with smaller companies like Mavenlink at the Dreamforce conference with a common goal of showing what they bring to make the Salesforce CRM system better.

Salesforce Third-Party Ecosystem

SAN FRANCISCO—Salesforce.com expects more than 170,000 people to take part in its annual Dreamforce conference here Nov. 6-9. Many of those attendees came to look over or show off the applications they have developed for their companies that extend the Salesforce customer relationship management ecosystem.

One reason why the Salesforce CRM platform has grown so rapidly is because the company built the platform to be open enough to enable companies of all types and size to contribute their own apps and ideas.

Networking giant Cisco for example shares many of the same customers as Salesforce and is promoting the benefits of a partnership that has led to tight integration of their respective online services.

“At the end of the day you have to collaborate with other people and we bring that capability right into the Salesforce platform,” Leon Barnovsky, a senior director in the cloud collaboration group at Cisco, told eWEEK.

Last month Cisco announced Cisco Spark for Salesforce, a custom version of its Spark collaboration software that gives Salesforce users access to such features as high-quality video calling along with group messaging, file-sharing and message deletion as well the ability to see who is online and available to participate in meetings  

“This isn’t just something we brought to the AppExchange, it was co-developed with Salesforce; it’s native to Salesforce,” said Barnovsky.

Another exhibitor, Mavenlink, also pitches itself as augmenting, rather than replacing the software components that Salesforce offers.

“We offer an operational system of record that sits between Salesforce and your General Ledger,” Maggie Sheldon, vice-president of product at Mavenlink, told eWEEK. At Dreamforce the company is showing off new features in its Mavenlink Project Management and Resource Planning software, including the ability to estimate what resources a company needs to make a project profitable. Sheldon said Salesforce’s own marketing team uses Mavenlink.

Dreamforce exhibitor Dun & Bradstreet, known for its credit reports and business information services, also has a service designed to complement the Salesforce CRM platform. The company’s new D&B Optimizer for Salesforce integrates Dun & Bradstreet data and data service directly into the Salesforce Platform. D&B has more than 280 million business records from 30,000 sources in 190 countries.

The fact that customer contact and business profile information that's vital to sales constantly changes is what makes D&B's information services so valuable to users of Salesforce's platform.

D&B said it updates the information in its database 5 million times a day with approximately 80 fields of advanced account intelligence and automated “cleansing” of account data for continuous data accuracy.

Appirio, a Wipro company, is showing several new services built on Salesforce Lightning that are designed for specific industries. These “Lightning Bolts” (in Salesforce parlance) are frameworks that can be used to create online communities, portals and customer-facing websites.

Among the new releases is a Retail and Franchise Communication Lightning Bolt for franchisors, franchisees, home offices and retail partners that offers a platform for delivering targeted marketing communications.

The cloud-based, mobile service is designed to streamline franchisee management, enhance brand consistency, enable real-time collaboration as well as support to field level operations.

Many of the companies participating in the Dreamforce conference market apps through Salesforce’s AppExchange marketplace. A new report timed for release at Dreamforce asserts why AppExchange is poised for rapid growth.

The report is based on a survey of more than 100 CEOs and senior level product executives from small and mid-sized companies as well as Fortune 100 companies developing applications on the Salesforce platform. The survey found that 86 percent of the respondents expected revenue growth to exceed 20 percent in 2018, while 36 percent pegged growth at more than 50 percent.

About 80 percent of the respondents believe there will be an increase in revenue as well as revenue growth rate in 2018. But one consistent challenge those companies reported to achieve this growth rate is acquiring new customers.

The report was done by venture capital firm Lighter Capital, which has invested in some AppExchange companies, and was sponsored by CodeScience which offers services for companies that market on the AppExchange.

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...