Salesforce.com Upgrades for the Enterprise
In an attempt to secure its footing in the large enterprise space, Salesforce.com today announced the availability of upgraded versions of its online service.
On the sales automation front, improved activity management tools were added to help managers drive productivity across widely dispersed sales teams, and track activities by region, market, or nation. Reporting enhancements include an increase in the number of report filters and increased flexibility in the creation of custom reports. Marketing automation updates include the ability to update leads in mass and campaign cloning capabilities.
Updates in customer service and support enable portal users to view attachments and hyperlinks, upload attachments to cases, and designate "super users" who can access all support cases submitted by their organization.
Additionally, Salesforce.com's Airforce Wireless Edition will be available on more devices, including Palm, iPAQ, BlackBerry, Handspring Treo, and HTML or WAP-enabled phones.
Analysts covering the ASP market maintain the hosted model is ideal for the mid-market, but lacks some of the features larger companies seek from license-based enterprise models. "It's not clear to me that Salesforce.com wants to deliver all the flexibility and integration that Siebel offers," says Erin Kinikin, vice president of CRM at Giga Information Group.
Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com CEO, however, wholeheartedly disagrees. "We offer every feature and function that Siebel, Pivotal, and Onyx has across the board. They aren't going to be able to come up with any major features that we don't already have," he says. "We feel an obligation to prove this model as a successful, profitable model. This is the year of proving this model," Benioff says.
Salesforce.com has already made some believers out of large corporate enterprises. Some large corporations that have already signed on with Salesforce.com include Cigna, Dow Jones Newswires, Fujitsu, Time Warner Cable, and USA Today. "In General Electric we already have more than 1,000 users. You will see us land some more large transactions very shortly," Benioff says.