The CRM leader releases its 20th generation--Summer '06; a connector for SAP R/3 marks another move toward enterprise customers.
Posted Jul 17, 2006
Salesforce.com is hot for larger corporations, or so the release of its latest version of the leading on-demand CRM solution would indicate. The company announced today the availability of the 20th generation of its product, dubbed Summer '06. The update builds on Salesforce's AppExchange platform and promises to better integrate sales, marketing, service support, and mobile devices, according to the company. In conjunction with the release of Summer '06, Salesforce is launching the Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3, a move to grow into the big business sector while still holding tightly onto the SMB CRM segment.
The new advances offered in Summer '06 revolve around mobility, specifically to broaden usage of AppExchange, which according to the company has enabled more than 10,000 customer installations of over 280 applications within its first six months of release. Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, said in a prepared statement, "Customers of all sizes are realizing the promise of The Business Web and running their businesses on demand today."
The Summer '06 features include:
Full integration with Partnerforce: As part of the Salesforce Partner edition, companies can use a PRM-SFA solution to track forecasts and manage pipelines across all channels.
Updated AppExchange functionality: Full mobile support will be offered, allowing customers to manage all sales action through remote devices.
Integration with Advanced Call Scripting: New scripting capabilities will enable tailoring of scripts as well as coaching and scoring technologies.
Lead history tracking: Customers will be able to tract lead status changes and conduct analysis to improve communication tactics.
Liz Herbert, senior analyst at Forrester Research, says that while these advancements may boost sales and functionality, the real innovation in this release is with the Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3. The SAP Connector, which will allow customers to integrate Salesforce with their back office SAP solution, shows a move by Salesforce to sell up into this bigger business market. To make the product marketable to a wider range of customers, Salesforce needed to find a way for customers to do less work implementing the product, according to Herbert, who notes that the obstacle many enterprise customers run into when trying to integrate Salesforce with an enterprise solution is that they're having to do "a lot of custom, point-to-point, custom-coding type integrations today that can be lengthy as well as expensive. I think this will help Salesforce be a more attractive choice in that segment."
With a customer base of more than 22,700, comprised largely of SMBs, it is extremely unlikely that Salesforce will be leaving the SMB market anytime soon. However, with Salesforce moving up in the market and enterprise companies like Microsoft announcing plans to move down with on-demand solutions, this move could point to an emerging trend of attempted proliferation by software providers across all of the CRM market space, Herbert says. "Software as a service is something right now that companies of all sizes are interested in, and vendors are responding by moving around and closing some of the traditional gaps."
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