Salesforce.com Targets Enterprises

Customer relationship management (CRM) specialist Salesforce.com, rolled out its new enterprise and accounts receivable products today during technology forum Demo 2002 in Phoenix. The new products underline Salesforce.com's hosted-only strategy, says company CEO Marc Benioff. "We're all about the end of [licensed] software," he promises. Salesforce.com is best known for the professional edition of its CRM suite, a $65 per user per year product which consists of sales force automation (SFA, Salesforce.com's core expertise), customer service and support, marketing automation, and reporting and analysis. The new enterprise edition -- which includes a customization engine and a more robust ability to integrate with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems -- is $125 per user per year. Salesforce.com's accounts receivable product, which includes invoicing and e-billing functionalities -- goes for $195 per user per year. Eddie Myers, a group manager at Salesforce.com customer Paymentech, backed up Benioff, saying, "Customization has been a walk in the park, and we linked it successfully to legacy systems." Paymentech, says Myers, interviewed higher-end vendors but found their products too expensive. The payment outsourcing company rolled out Salesforce.com in 90 days and has 140 users on the system in the customer support division of its retail organization. While the release of Salesforce.com's enterprise edition has been expected for some time, the accounts receivable product is more of a surprise. Benioff says the idea came from the company itself when it realized that "it's an extension of CRM, part of the 360-degree view of the customer. I can see who owes me and who doesn't. It makes salespeople responsible for collections." At least one analyst, Denis Pombriant of Aberdeen, believes that Salesforce.com's enterprise product may be able to compete on its own terms with licensed, full-functionality CRM products like those of sector leader Siebel Systems. Salesforce.com has 3800 customers for its professional edition and 30 customers for the enterprise edition. Benioff predicts his company will reach $50 million in sales this year. Demir Barlas also writes for line56.com
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