Why Salesforce.com's Merrill Lynch move is important

Summary:Salesforce.com announced its big enterprise customer--Merrill Lynch--and the news was anticlimactic (everyone knew what was going to happen already.

Salesforce.com announced its big enterprise customer--Merrill Lynch--and the news was anticlimactic (everyone knew what was going to happen already.)

While the announcement that Salesforce.com is trying to take on Bloomberg and is rolling out large installations isn't a barnburner you shouldn't underestimate its importance.

The ability to land a 25,000 subscriber account and target a vertical provides a blueprint for future markets.

Salesforce.com has "CRM" as a stock ticker, but the company clearly has plans for more than just CRM software. It's an interesting dance here. Salesforce.com maintains it's focused on CRM, but wouldn't complain if its platform and developers enabled other enterprise applications. Ditto for specific verticals. Salesforce.com for manufacturing? How about utilities? You get the idea.

The company outlined its approach as a "circle of success." In the context of its latest Wealth Manager software Salesforce.com said its latest effort combines four items:

  • On-demand CRM applications;
  • An IdeaExchange for community empowerment;
  • The Apex Developer Network providing the tools and resources for developer innovation;
  • And the Apex platform for quick implementations.

Will this work? The odds are decent. Salesforce.com's biggest challenge is getting the sales army to penetrate some of these hard-to-reach verticals. For instance, Oracle has a business unit that only caters to the financial services and telecom markets. It will be hard for Salesforce.com to compete with the resources of Oracle and SAP.

Topics: Salesforce.com


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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