Salesforce.com Springs a Space Program

Salesforce.com today announced a plan to piggyback on the MySpace craze with AppSpace, an online networking application for business users. Featured in the Spring '07 release, AppSpace will allow companies to collaborate and interact with customers through the use of Salesforce.com, Apex, and AppExchange applications. The secure, branded online environment is slated for release in April of this year, and will be introduced alongside other advancements to Salesforce.com's existing applications. "Just as MySpace brought together individuals on the consumer Web, AppSpace will bring together companies and their customers on the business Web," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, in a written statement. By directly evoking the former NewsCorp purchase in both the application's name and the company statements, Salesforce.com plans to ride the wave of MySpace's success. Denis Pombriant, founder and managing partner of Beagle Research, explains that this allows Salesforce.com to quickly explain the portal in a way their customers can understand. He offers the possibility that Salesforce.com is "positioning this portal to appeal to a younger generation of users." AppSpace will be available in April as part of the Spring '07 release and will be priced starting at monthly fee of $995 per organization. As MySpace has gained popularity for the ability to share personal music, pictures, and videos online, AppSpace will enable users to swap documents, manage projects, and collaborate through Apex applications. The portal will be built on the Apex platform and will support the platform's existing capabilities, such as embedded mashups and workflow. Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies, says that this model provides a new way for companies to create rich communication between their brands and their customers. He says that normally when communication occurs, "it happens when something goes wrong." He adds, "This portal permits customers to be able to gauge their level of connectivity and gives them the opportunity to share information with their peers." The Spring '07 release will also include upgrades to popular features promoted on IdeaExchange, Salesforce.com's online community, such as time-based workflow, customized search, and look-up relationships. Upgrades to Salesforce Partner Relationship Management, including enhanced partner emails, partner role hierarchies, and joint selling will also be available in spring of this year. Salesforce SFA will also be upgraded to include customizable search, recent item hovers, and connectinity with Outlook 3.0. Pombriant says that one of the most notable aspects of the release is the fact that "so many of the ideas came out of the IdeaExchange." He says, "The IdeaExchange is doing something very similar to what Salesforce.com wants its customers to do with [AppSpace]. I think that it's a great testament to the power of remaining connected to your customer." Related articles: Salesforce.com Makes a Vertical Splash
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