Hosted CRM Targets the Enterprise
Salesforce.Com Inc., a fast-growing CRM hosting service, will move to expand its offerings beyond the department level next month with an enterprise-class version of its services.
The high-end offering, called Salesforce.com enterprise, will include stronger integration capabilities with other enterprise resource planning and e-business applicationssuch as those from PeopleSoft Inc., SAP AG and Oracle Corp.as well as data security and data sharing capabilities consistent with large enterprises needs. Data Junction Corp. will provide the data sharing technology.
Salesforce.com will offer services in its enterprise offering consistent with more-mature customer relationship management packages such as professional services automation, sales configuration and customer self-service, according to company officials.
Salesforce.com Chairman Marc Benioff said the company is targeting companies in the 5,000-to-10,000-seat range. The current Salesforce.com service typically is not used by companies with more than 400 to 500 seats.
"Its a major leap forward for us," said Benioff, in San Francisco. He said large companies that now deploy Salesforce.com at the division or departmental level have expressed interest in using the service companywide.
Though the enterprise service is not expected to be available until January, some current Salesforce.com customers are already looking forward to it. "It would be something wed be interested in looking at," said Mike DeSimone, vice president of the Global Travel Services division of Thomas Cook Ltd., in Buffalo, N.Y. DeSimone has 35 users of Salesforce.com in his department, but other divisions of the company use sales applications from Siebel Systems Inc. or FrontRange Solutions Inc.
DeSimone said Thomas Cook wants to extend the use of Salesforce.com companywide and in combination with those other sales applications. However, the current level of service does not offer enough integration capabilities, such as with credit and payment systems.
"Salesforce.com has advantages in cost, ease of use and training," DeSimone said. "You dont need a DBA [database administrator] to write custom reports. You can add a new user in a minute and a half. Its easy to customize it to our needs. Its been a real success story for us, just in giving us the ability to have access to our information."
Putnam Lovell Securities Inc., in San Francisco, uses Salesforce.com companywide, with 150 seats. But Rodric OConnor, vice president of technology, said he may still upgrade.
OConnor, who has been briefed on the new features, said the enterprise version will be configurable at a more "granular" level, so each business unit can see only the accounts and contracts relevant to their business.
OConnor said the new XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based APIs in the enterprise version would be a boon to his company since they would allow deeper integration with other applications. Integration is currently limited to "screen scraping," he said, or just at the user interface level. "Theyre opening [the service] up for integration," he said.
The Data Junction conduit would be a plus, OConnor said. "It would allow us to manipulate the data. Administrators could use it to export data by certain categories to other applications, massage the data, then reimport it."
Pricing for Salesforce.coms enterprise service has not yet been set, but it will be more than the current $65 per user per month, Benioff said. Salesforce.com has 3,000 customers and more than 50,000 paid seats.
The privately held company expects to garner revenues of about $25 million this year, up from $7 million last year, with profitability targeted for the first half of next year, Benioff said.