Salesforce.com is close to making new hosted back-office application services available and has reached profitability.
The hosted customer relationship management software provider has long planned to offer hosted back-office applications. Salesforce.com Billing Edition is the first phase of that strategy, featuring hosted applications for billing and invoicing, electronic bill presentation, contract management, order management and order entry.
"The code is in production and the first customers should be live in the next week or two," Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of San Francisco-based Salesforce.com, said in an interview.
Benioff, who once boldly predicted that Salesforce.com would offer "every module that SAP has available to license" as part of its hosted service, has scaled down his ambitions somewhat.
"Well offer back-office applications that are customer-facing," he said. "Were not going to be offering general ledger, payroll or HR." Benioff said Salesforce.com would instead work to integrate its services with those applications its customers already have. Salesforce.com itself uses Oracle Corp.s software for those applications.
Full accounts receivables functionality is next on the companys list of services to add, he said.
"Well continue to flesh it out over the next 18 to 24 months," Benioff said.
Not all Salesforce.com customers are anxiously awaiting the back-office services though. Bob Kocanda, director of sales operations for Honeywell Inc.s Industrial Measurement and Control business, has 120 seats of Salesforce.com Enterprise Edition, which his group uses for sales, marketing and customer service. But Honeywell IMC has standardized on Oracle applications for the back office and Kocanda just wants better integration between those applications and his Salesforce.com applications.
"Were hoping to get that link from the front-end customer contact and sales opportunities to order entry on the back end then share information back and forth," said Kocanda, in Westmont, Ill.
With a software investment already made in Oracle, Kocanda said hes not looking to migrate to the Salesforce.com hosted back-office applications, even though the front-office services have proved to be a good fit for his group. Ultimately, Honeywell Industrial Measurement and Control would like to tie together applications from first customer contact to manufacturing.
"Wed like to be able to drive towards establishing customer contact, linking to the sales forecast, then tying that all the way through to the factory floor," Kocanda said.
"Weve looked at Oracle, SAP and Salesforce.com and no one has a total solution to do all of that. So we need them to give us the hooks," Kocanda said.