Salesforce.com is using Web services to extend the capacities of its core customer relationship platform. More specifically,?the $175 million company is giving its clients and third-party developers the tools to do this. Outspoken CEO Marc Benioff tells BusinessWeek, "...we've done three of four major releases with 100 to 150 new features. That's a relentless pace of innovation, similar to what you might see at Amazon, Google, or eBay, not with an Oracle, PeopleSoft, or SAP." (Notice he doesn't even mention Siebel, which replaced its CEO this week amid a wave of bad numbers and organizational turbulence.)
As for the extensions of its platform made possible through outside development using Web services, Benioff explains, "This is all built on making our CRM products better. It's making our ability to compete in the market more competitively. We don't have just a prepackaged CRM application, but customers can build and customize the whole platform. That's something no one else is even trying. We're seeing customers build all kinds of new applications we couldn't have come up with."
"At heart, we will be a CRM company for the foreseeable future. CRM is our heart and soul, and these other applications are appendages. We have 13,900 customers, and we mostly run their sales organizations. But, for example, at Magma Design Automation, there are 30 salespeople -- but over 500 users of Salesforce because they have built applications that are about more than CRM. That's our strategy."
Also: Rival vendors are trapped in?the past, Benioff tells?ZDNet's Dan Farber in a video interview...?