Salesforce.com has offered customers additional incentives to work with its AppExchange custom application development platform with the introduction March 6 of what it has dubbed the Unlimited Edition.
The Unlimited Edition includes all the features of Salesforce.coms Enterprise Edition, the broad suite of the companys on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) applications along with new services to encourage customers to develop and use custom applications through AppExchange.
AppExchange lets customers build and share applications that extend the Salesforce CRM applications or that automate entirely different business processes, such as finance, human resources, legal or IT.
Company officials have been building up AppExchange as an operating platform for what it calls the "business Web," which are Internet-based applications that automate business processes that are separate and distinct from the search, shopping, marketing applications that consumers have worked with over the past decade.
The Unlimited Edition will allow the company to continue this strategy.
"Unlimited Edition really gives customers the ability to run their entire enterprise with the AppExchange," said George Hu, Salesforce.coms senior vice president of applications.
This gives AppExchange applications the opportunity to displace established legacy human resources, Microsoft SQL Server or, internally built client-server applications, Hu said.
"Will we displace legacy packaged apps, I think we are going to leave that up to the customers," Hu said. "We have got a lot of customers using our API for integrating with the legacy systems," he noted.
The Unlimited Edition allows customers to add and run and unlimited number of these applications, whether they are developed internally, by Salesforce.com or by third-party developers for a monthly fee of $195 per month, according to Hu.
The new package includes the Salesforce Sandbox, which is a development environment for building and testing AppExchange applications as well as training users to work with these applications.
It also provides 120MB of disk storage capacity per use, which is a sixfold increase on the storage provided by the enterprise edition to enable customers to run multiple on-demand applications from Salesforce.com, whether they are from third-party developers, internally developed applications or third-party applications.
The Unlimited Edition also increases the number of customized tables, objects and fields customers can activate in their applications.
The Unlimited Edition has been designed for customers that are building and deploying custom applications built on the AppExchange platform and as a result are going over the limits of their basic Salesforce.com subscriptions, said Forrester Research analyst Liz Herbert.
"That would be the people who today are having to spend additional money beyond the per user per monthly fee for going over the storage limits; people who are creating more custom objects than Salesforce allows today; and people who are paying for the Sandbox, Herbert said.
The Unlimited Edition "should save them money, and it should give them greater flexibility with the amount of custom objects they can create," she said.
Users can access a number of customer AppExchange application for free, but these applications also increase the amount of storage that each users consumes.
"Its people who have downloaded a lot of those that tend to be over the limit" for storage capacity and usage who are incurring additional charges, she said.
The package is a move to "add to the diversity of salesforce.com applications," she said.
Salesforce.com will also gain more stickiness and more traction within their customer base," she said.
As more companies start using a variety of different applications, such as bug tracking or expense tracking, "they get much more dependent on that platform. Its much harder to switch" because they are no longer dealing with just switching off a sales force automation application, Herbert said.
One company that became an early use of the Unlimited Edition is the Raymond J. Lucia Companies, a financial services and investment advisory firm based in San Diego.
The company used the Unlimited Edition and the AppExchange to build and deploy custom financial services applications that go beyond Salesforce.coms CRM base.
These include client portfolio management, compensation tracking systems, and regulatory compliance management applications that are integrated with third-party fixed income and equity data, according to Ray Lucia Jr., company vice president.
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