Customers Embrace On-Demand Model users say it isn't hard to convince their bosses of the benefits of turning to a hosted application service for their sales force automation tools.

SAN FRANCISCO—With the fervor of recent religious converts, users say they are convinced that using a hosted application service provides significant potential cost savings and management benefits over trying to develop or support important business applications in-house.

Customers attending Salesforce.coms Dreamforce user conference here said the decision to go with a hosted application was easy once they started evaluating what services were on the market.

For example, Mirapoint Inc., a maker of e-mail and security appliances in Sunnyvale, Calif., has deployed just in the past two months.

"We liked the idea of not having to deal with back-end support, the servers or the infrastructure required" to run the applications, said Jim Crum, senior manager of business systems at Mirapoint. Like most businesses today, "we are trying to stretch a dollar as far as we can."

The decision to go with was relatively easy because several sales executives had experience with the on-demand CRM applications at other companies, Crum said. As a result, "sponsorship in the organization was fairly straightforward. It wasnt hard to sell the idea" to company executives, he said.

The company was using sales automation and customer support applications from SalesLogix Inc., but "that was getting so old that it seemed like pretty much like a no-brainer that it was time to replace it," he said. While Mirapoint still uses SalesLogix for customer support, Crum said his company also will look at the Salesforce contact-center service.

SalesLogix allows the company to manage customer support tickets and cases. But Crum said he believes that these features could be just as effectively managed in the Supportforce service.

He also indicated that the company would look at the application customization tool kit. While Crum said he doesnt have programming expertise, Mirapoint might work with to contract out the customization services if its needed.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about and other enhancements in the Winter 05 editions of Salesforce.coms on-demand CRM package. is part of the Winter 05 release of Salesforce.coms on-demand CRM subscriptions service that also includes the customer service tool that the company released in September.

Select Business Solutions Inc. of Trumbull, Conn., a producer of mainframe reporting and system modeling tools, has used the CRM software for more than three years, making it one of 5-year-old companys earlier customers, said Scott Stoney, vice president of information systems.

Stoney said Select Business Solutions didnt see any conflict in the concept of outsourcing its sales force automation systems to a hosted application service. The money that the company saves in outsourcing the sales applications leaves more to invest in its bread-and-butter business applications, Stoney 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...