Salesforce.com and CODA (via its parent Unit 4 Agresso) are hooking up to create FinancialForce.com. While financial details of the arrangement were not revealed, Salesforce.com is a minority stakeholder in the new company. From the blurbs:
The CODA 2go team and products have transferred to FinancialForce.com, which will be run from the company’s new corporate headquarters in San Mateo, California as well as from its EMEA headquarters in Harrogate in the UK. FinancialForce.com already has established sales, pre-sales and support teams in North America and the UK to take the new solution to market. Salesforce.com will provide first line support for FinancialForce.com, giving customers of both Salesforce CRM and FinancialForce applications a single consistent point of contact.
At first blush this looks like a marketing play by both companies but there is more to this than meets the eye.
From Salesforce.com's perspective it can now claim kudos for extending itself to look more like NetSuite. From CODA's perspective, it gets more development klout inside the Salesforce.com gravity field while benefiting from the Salesforce.com marketing halo.
I spoke with Jeremy Roche, who now becomes CEO of FinancialForce.com as well as retaining his leadership role with CODA: "We represent the biggest development on the Force.com platform and see ourselves as a driving force there. We are for instance providing Salesforce.com with experience in scaling up for example in using the batch Apex feature for providing manipulations in bulk revaluations."
Asked about the go to market angle, Jeremy said: "There's no question that being permitted to carry the Force.com name makes a difference but we expect this will give us more ways to go to market than are readily available today. Having the credibility of the Force.com behind us makes a difference in what are really new markets where CODA is not so well known."
We then discussed what this means in the real world to which Jeremy replied: "Software as a service opens up revenue streams that are just not available in the on-prem world so for instance we are discovering that some customers wish to use as financial middleware. They use Salesforce.com as their main way of doing business and we both record and expose the debits and credits. An example might be where customers are using the Service Cloud and need financial information on contract renewal."
Technical buyers will be interested in knowing who owns what and how it all fits together. According to Jeremy, FinancialForce.com uses the Salesforce.com master data model and then extends it: "As you know, some data for say 'customer' is common but we need other things that Salesforce.com would not provide like knowing which part of the chart of accounts a customer fits into. That's where we extend without interfering with the master."
As the service grows, it will be interesting to see how the two companies manage reporting, an issue I know is on the mind of Salesforce.com co-founder Parker Harris: "We make use of Salesforce.com's reporting and dashboarding but some companies are looking for corporate performance reporting style information. For that we currently link to Ucalc but also provide a web service driven interface for Excel because that's what the accountants want. We can manipulate in cubes anyway as CODA2go is built on that premise so we get a lot of slice and dice but no, it doesn't do everything we want today. It will come," said Jeremy.
Disclosure: CODA2go is a sponsor to my personal weblog