Salesforce.com’s latest ecosystem expansion is focused on ApexConnect, an extension of the AppExchange marketplace for connectors that integrate its platform with a variety of applications and services, including ERP systems, Web services, desktop applications and middleware.
Connectors have become an important part of salesforce.com's growth. In the last quarter, API transactions accounted for more than 50 percent of the 3.7 billion transactions (page views or API calls on the multitenant platform), according to the company. Salesforce.com has had a smattering of connectors--SAP R3, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Office and computer-telephony systems--and with ApexConnect adds 25 integration connectors from companies such as Business Objects, Informatica, Tibco and several smaller firms.
Importantly, Salesforce.com is also developing ConnectOracle, a native connector for Oracle 11i database, due next year, which will include a pre-built master-customer template, bidirectional synchronization of account data and access to enterprise customer data in Salesforce. Salesforce Enterprise Edition and Unlimited Edition customers will be charged a $12,000 annual fee for ConnectOracle. Salesforce.com's platform is built on an Oracle database.
In addition, the company is including an outbound messaging API, ConnectOut, in the next release of the platform, due in this quarter. Salesforce can send notifications of events across middleware, a message bus or an application, allowing business processes to span multiple systems.
It's a natural next step for salesforce.com's platform ambitions, and more integration partners will join the club if the company continues to penetrate larger organizations. The company needs to make its marketplace for apps and connectors more integrated itself, with a commerce engine that allows for the sale and purchase of software via salesforce.com, rather than transacting through the individual providers.