Large enterprises have been slow to adopt hosted systems because of two big obstacles: integration and customization. Now, salesforce.com has cleared the limitations.
The Bottom Line: salesforce.com’s latest release removes the customization barrier by supporting the tailoring of field and tab names, as well as the creation of new tabs.
What It Means: Here are the actions that salesforce.com has taken to change the game completely:
- Several months ago, salesforce.com introduced sforce, a Web services Application Programming Interface (API) that could be used by developers to integrate applications and data. Customers are using this to integrate legacy apps and other Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. Partners are using the APIs to integrate their tools directly with salesforce.com. The Takeaway: sforce broke down the integration barrier.
- In April, salesforce.com introduced Studio as part of the latest release. Studio is an intuitive user interface designed for business users to change field and tab names. In addition, it can be used to design completely new tabs. The customizations can be done in any of the 11 languages currently available. The Takeaway: Prior versions allowed users to add custom fields, but Studio takes it to the next level with real customization possibilities.
- Customization also lets customers, as well as partners, build industry-specific functionality and extensions to the product. For example, a healthcare company was very pleased with the ability to change “Accounts” to “Patients” and further reduce the already minimal training efforts. The Takeaway: Customers whom we spoke with were looking forward to increasing their already high user adoption rates by using company-specific vocabulary through these new customization capabilities.
saleforce.com’s introduction of customization marks another key maturity step in the hosted solution space. The Studio product is currently only available with the Enterprise version of the software (list price of $125 per user per month, which includes sforce and Studio).
Competitors that have distinguished themselves from salesforce.com based on a lack of integration and customization will have to find new ways to compete. salesforce.com partners will have new opportunities to develop vertical industry functionality.
AMR Research originally published this article on 28 April 2004.