A Salesforce On-Demand OS?

Jim Wagner

Updated · Jun 22, 2005

Hosted customer relationship management (CRM) firm Salesforce.com launched its Summer '05 software update, which includes what officials bill the world's first on-demand operating system.

Although officials at the San Francisco company call Multiforce 1.0 an operating system, the term is somewhat of a misnomer. While the new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering does include the single data and security models and user interface found in operating systems like Windows or Linux, the software won't be installed onto anyone's hard drive, and it doesn't have the drivers for hardware or any other devices attached to the computer.

However, it does allow for a single, consistent platform for companies to use, manage and deploy all Salesforce.com and third-party, on-demand applications created on the Customforce platform.

With the use of Sforce, which, along with Customforce, received an upgrade, users can even integrate traditional software applications like Microsoft Office and Outlook.

It's all a part of Salesforce.com's strategy for “the end of software,” a tagline coined by Marc Benioff, the company's CEO. Earlier this year he announced the Summer '05 upgrades and said it was part of the company's goal to expand outside its core CRM business and into other business processes like project management, budgeting and human resources.

Phill Robinson, Salesforce.com senior vice president of marketing, said the launch of Multiforce is a milestone for the company, and one that will break the company out from the perception it is only a CRM player.

For about nine months now, he said, customers and third-party developers have created more than 7 million customizations using the Customforce tool.

In this case, Multiforce will gain popularity from allowing companies to develop and use that hard-to-find recruiting application none of the other major software vendors are developing.

Ten percent of the market is served by companies like SAP , Siebel and Oracle , he said, but the other 90 percent is for the discrete applications that can never be served by traditional application vendors.

“There are lots of business problems organizations cannot solve because they can't manage and share information on demand, they can't manage and share across the company,” he said. “They're locked in spreadsheets or locked in small databases departmentally; they're not able to share them with a common information architecture.”

Tuesday's upgrade includes a number of added functionality to Salesforce.com's existing offerings:

  • Developers added more data analysis features to the Salesforce offering to include analysis using different selling methodologies, like those used by The Complex Sale and ValueVision. Also added was the ability of customers to customize forecasts by product line, time period and revenue schedules as well as real-time campaign lead status to closely integrate marketing campaigns and sales.
  • Supportforce includes the ability to use multiple customer support e-mail addresses to generate and route new cases faster. Another upgrade, advanced case escalation, automatically escalates a case against a number of pre-set requirements.
  • Customforce 2.0 now includes real-time analytics to incorporate company calculations in reports and dashboards, as well as the ability to create customized business formulas. Also included are more than 100 pre-built business processes to incorporate into the customer's data.
  • The Sforce application includes a Partner Portal toolkit, a Web services API and data loader for mass updates, deletes or exports of Salesforce, Supportforce or custom application.
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