Salesforce for Google Apps will be a significant step toward convincing businesses of all sizes to start using on demand business applications, according to two of Salesforce.com partners.
The mashup of Salesforce.com's customer relationship management software and Google's Web-based productivity applications "is a great move for a couple of reasons," said Glen Stoffel, vice president for business development with Bluewolf, an on-demand software deployment consultant.
Bluewolf has been working with Salesforce.com for seven years on on-demand CRM deployment and with Google for more than 18 months since it introduced Google Enterprise.
Salesforce for Google Apps adds "another piece to the puzzle as it relates to people being able to feel that they can effectively operate their businesses in the cloud," Stoffel said. Furthermore it plays into the core competency of each company, he noted.
Google Apps users get access to the Salesforce.com CRM applications while Salesforce.com users gain close integration with the Google productivity applications Stoffel said. Neither organization has to reinvent the wheel to supply their own equivalent functionality online.
Since Salesforce has already integrated the standard desktop productivity apps like Microsoft Outlook, what it is doing now is offering comparable functionality to the growing section of the world that is trying to do all of their applications or increase the number of applications that they can actually do" on the Web, said Stoffel.
For Appirio, a developer of Web applications for Salesforce and Google, Salesforce for Google Apps provides potentially "endless inspiration" for future Web applications that can tie into these companies' platforms, said Narinder Singh, one of Appirio's founders.
Appirio developed four products introduced Monday during Salesforce.com's roll out of Salesforce for Google Apps. These applications synchronize calendars, let users find and embed documents, collaborate on marketing campaigns, and create and share customized CRM dashboards, said Singh.
Just working with these applications will prompt users to think of new application needs, Singh said. For example, Appirio first developed the calendar synchronization applications, which can move information between a Salesforce and a Google calendar.
"We were showing that to some marketing people and that led them to say hey that's interesting, but what I really want to be able to do is I've got all these campaigns in Salesforce and I have to copy them by hand into Google calendar," he said.
So this observation inspired Appirio to take the generic capability of synchronizing calendars and event information and expanding the types of information that could be exchanged between platforms, he said.
"One of the core things for us is the cost of innovation is much smaller so for us to decide we want to move into one of these things and create a micro product that fits the specifics of the user community," he said. "This is the key difference" between online applications and the typical on premise enterprise application.
Singh is a former SAP executive who worked in the CEO's office as part of the company's strategic planning group. At SAP you have to find a software development opportunity that had a potential value of at least $100 million and better yet $1 billion before the company would commit to a major software development cycle.
Building smaller on-demand applications "is a much more nimble approach and gives us a lot more opportunities to find really compelling business products," he said.