Salesforce.com is releasing the latest version Salesforce is trumpeting the SAP Connector as a key part of Summer '06 of their market-leading CRM suite tomorrow morning (Monday). Nicknamed "Summer '06", the updated service adds new tools to their CRM arsenal and builds on their increasingly important AppExchange platform (essentially a portal service for web apps). In its press release, Salesforce says that more than 10,000 customer installations of over 280 AppExchange applications have taken place in first six months. It also notes that its customers have taken more than 134,000 application test drives on the AppExchange since it was announced - and more than 43,000 custom applications and objects have been deployed via the AppExchange.
In an interview with Salesforce executives, which I will publish in installments this week, I drill down into the reasons why AppExchange is such a crucial part of Salesforce's Web Office platform.
Salesforce.com has 22,700 customers and 444,000 subscribers worldwide. Summer ’06 is available in Personal, Team, Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited Editions. The announcement of Summer '06 also makes liberal mention of salesforce.com's new catchphrase, The Business Web - a term they deployed recently in an attempt to one-up Microsoft's "software-as-a-service" catchphrase.
New in the Summer '06 edition is Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3 - which hooks up salesforce.com with SAP, the largest business application and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution software provider in terms of revenue. This is a somewhat ironic move, since SAP announced in February that they are releasing their own hosted CRM service - in competition with salesforce.com. CRM is a fast-growing market though. Recent figures from Gartner state that the CRM software market was up 13.7% in 2005.
So the "SAP Connector" appears to be salesforce.com's response, to try and prevent existing SAP customers from moving their CRM software over to SAP. Indeed Salesforce is trumpeting the SAP Connector as a key part of its Summer '06 release:
'“With this latest release, Summer ‘06, salesforce.com is giving a preview of its next important stage of evolution. Beyond the anticipated application functionality it is releasing the critical component to enterprise class customers: native integration to their back office system. With the release of the Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3, salesforce.com is making the very important bridge for customers between their traditional enterprise systems and their on-demand installation.”'
The Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3 will be free for Unlimited Edition customers and will cost $12,000 per annum for Enterprise Edition customers.
Other new features in salesforce.com Summer '06 edition include:
- Partnerforce, Salesforce Partner Edition - customizable portals that allow on-demand management of the partner lifecycle.
- AppExchange Mobile updates
- Advanced Call Scripting
- Lead History Tracking
Stay tuned, I'll publish my interview with Saleforce.com executives over the next few days - focusing on Web Office and Web 2.0 implications of their business.