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New Salesforce.com Lineup Targets On-Demand

By Michael Singer     Feedback

The San Francisco-based firm eyes an expansion of its 'software- as-service model' into the more lucrative 'on-demand' space

Looking to expand its "software- as-service model" into the more lucrative "on-demand" space, salesforce.com Monday took the wraps off new tools and programs targeting the customer relationship management (CRM) sector.

The San Francisco-based firm kicked off its first ever "Dreamforce" user and developer conference with the launch of sforce version 2.0, the company's application server software and Winter '04, the fourteenth generation of salesforce.com and the third major release the company has introduced this year.

The Winter '04 product, which salesforce.com says represents more than $150 million in research and infrastructure investment, offers on-demand CRM customization, integration and globalization features. The platform comes with more than 1000 state-of-the-art on-demand CRM features such as integrated dashboards, workflow automation, real-time alerts, and contract management.

salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff said that in just four years, the company has signed on more than 8,000 customers and 110,000 subscribers "who are now successfully running their business with on demand CRM." He also said the company has been "so successful with on demand CRM that traditional software competition like Siebel are trying to jump back on the bandwagon. Together with our partners, developers and customers, we have not only proved the viability of on demand CRM -- we have made it an unbridled success."

Salesforce.com rival Siebel made it clear it was not giving up its role as a major CRM provider when the Dublin, Calif.-based company said it plans on purchasing UpShot and Motiva last month.

In addition to customizing forms, Winter '04 also works with enterprise applications and the most commonly used desktop applications such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. The platform also supports 11 languages and all currencies. In fact, the new global translation workbench has an on-the-fly language translation and automatically summarizes data and reports for managers in the language of their choice.

"The salesforce.com Winter '04 release provides the that our customers need to grow their businesses worldwide," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, salesforce.com. "We will continue to lead the CRM market with innovation after innovation to ensure that our customers have the tools and features they need to be successful. We have solved the problem of client/server software delivery and implementation to provide on-demand CRM success, not software, for everyone."

Part of the strategy includes getting a massive amount of partners onboard the new Winter '04/sforce 2.0 train and salesforce.com has had no problem there.

The platform also includes sforce 2.0, the company's next generation of on-demand application server software.

This is sforce's first makeover since it was unveiled earlier this summer. The company said version 2.0 includes more enterprise Web services APIs, more powerful and standards-based integration capabilities including dynamic WSDL generation and SQL-like object querying.

In addition to Benioff, Salesforce.com has assembled supporters who say they will implement and/or support Winter '04 and sforce 2.0. The list includes partners such as Adam Bosworth, chief architect and senior vice president, BEA Systems ; Blake Stone, CTO, Borland; Halsey Minor, chairman and CEO, Grand Central; Chris Thomas, chief e-strategist, Intel Corporation ; David Vaskevitch, senior vice president and CTO, Microsoft Corporation ; Ernie Cormier, vice president, Business Solutions, Nextel .

One in particular -- AMD said Monday that it has signed a three-year contract to standardize its 800 global subscribers on salesforce.com's Winter '04 release. The company, which did more than $2.6 billion in sales in 2002, said it is looking at getting all of its subscribers switched over in less than 45 days.

"With salesforce.com, AMD has a global CRM platform that can deliver a solid return on our investment without compromising any functionality," AMD senior vice president of Worldwide Sales and Marketing Henri Richard said. "Salesforce.com's executive dashboard provides instant access to the data necessary to assess and guide AMD's global business. The end result is a more productive sales organization that can focus on delivering technology solutions that meet our customer's needs."

Likewise, Sybase subsidiary iAnywhere Solutions gave Salesforce.com the exclusive right to market its Mobile Sales platform. The companies say the combination helps salesforce.com's existing mobile and wireless solutions, providing both wireless and "sync and go" access to key salesforce.com customer information from PDAs and smartphones.

"Through a partnership established with iAnywhere in early 2003, we've been able to fulfill customer demand for always available access to key customer information from the convenience of a handheld device," said Roger Goulart, vice president of global alliances at salesforce.com. "This agreement helps round out our mobile solution portfolio and enables us to meet the needs of our mobile customers very quickly with a proven solution."

This article was originally published on November 11, 2003
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