Unveils Multiforce Application Environment

Wednesday's announcement from the company beats IBM to the punch in terms of providing a platform that various hosted applications can use.

Hosted CRM (customer relationship management) software provider announced Wednesday a new application environment, called Multiforce, that will enable users to jump between hosted applications within the same environment.

In other words, subscribers using the Multiforce application environment will have the ability to use the same data model, security features and user interface for any hosted application—provided its built by users or partners using Salesforce.coms Customforce development tool, officials said.

The company announced one such partner today, Thomson Financial, and said it had an ecosystem in place of an additional 150 partners that are customizing their applications to be used in the Multiforce environment.

Thomson Financial, a division of Thomson Corp., provides software to the financial community.

The company announced Wednesday its Thomson One CRM Module for wealth management thats based on Salesforce.coms CRM software—and available within the Multiforce environment.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about users citing cost savings and management benefits in using a hosted application service.

The Multiforce technology, available with Salesforce.coms summer 2005 release, is actually an evolution of Customforce, a technology that enables easier customization of salesforce.coms software. Customforce was announced in November 2004.

"Our summer 05 release will be another major step in what we call the next stage of on-demand revolution," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of, in a statement.

"By enabling the management and sharing of information on-demand, Multiforce is the realization of an important part of our vision for the future of computing."

With Wednesdays announcement, beat IBM to the punch in terms of providing a platform that various hosted applications can use—though IBM is not far behind.

As reported by eWeek in mid-February, IBM and a group of ISVs (independent software vendors) including Seibel Systems Inc., Intacct Corp., Concur Technology Inc., Employease Inc., Peopleclick Inc., and Ultimate Software Group Inc., have formed whats informally referred to as the IBM SaaS (Software as a Service) Partner Council to develop and deploy a model that enables users to pick and chose software that is pre-configured and pre-integrated, and available on demand.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about IBMs formation of the SaaS Partner Council, click here.

IBMs work with the model boils down to the development of an architecture that provides a common framework for application integration.

The pre-configured building blocks from hosted vendors would sit on top of that platform, and users would have the ability to choose capabilities at will, for whatever length of time that capability is needed.

Both and IBM are working to solve legitimate problems with the integration and customization of hosted applications, particularly with mid-market customers, according to analysts.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about customer relationship management solutions.