Aims to Expand Subscriber Base with Multiforce

The company plans to expand its subscriber base by encouraging customers to use its new Multiforce operating platform and its Customforce development tools to build niche add-on applications.

SAN FRANCISCO—With the official release Tuesday of its Multiforce 1.0 operating system and the Customforce 2.0 application customization tool, is making clear that it plans to grow by constantly expanding its subscriber base, not by offering a more diverse application suite. will rely on partners and customers to create new applications that all run on top of the Multiforce on demand operating system, which gives customers access to the companys Web-based CRM (customer relationship management) and customer service applications.

"A whole ecosystem of companies has emerged around us…who have been able to extend our application with Customforce," said CEO Mark Benioff.

The goal of the combination of Multiforce and Customforce is to give customers and independent software vendors the means to create an unlimited number of add-ons and extensions to the platform, Benioff said.

To grow and prosper, Salesforce doesnt have to introduce a diverse range of enterprise applications to try to turn into another SAP or another Oracle, said Phill Robinson, senior vice president of global marketing.

Instead it has to attract an ever-increasing population of subscribers who want to work with Salesforce, Customforce and Multiforce as an application platform, Robinson said.

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Its not even essential that customers start with the Salesforce sales automation and customer service application, he said. They might want to start with Customforce to build anything from a human resources management applications to a database query system, Robinson said.

Customforce will allow any developer anywhere in the world who has Internet access to log on to to create niche business applications that large software companies would have interest in building, he said.

"There are hundreds and thousands of niche applications that were never built because theyre just not economically viable for the big companies to develop" that are now in reach of developers everywhere, he said.

Applications that have been built with custom force include expense reporting, recruiting, project management and schedule management.

Benioff suggested that customers shouldnt bother to buy enterprise databases or storage systems for their application data. They should simply rely on Salesforce.coms on demand infrastructure to provide the entire application platform, he said.

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John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...