Salesforce inks 'second-largest' Philippine deal

The on-demand software vendor signs deal with U.S. food production company Del Monte, in a contract win execs say is its second-largest in the Philippines.

PHILIPPINES--Software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Salesforce.com has bagged a deal to provide on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) to Del Monte Philippines (DMPI).

In a press briefing last week, Salesforce.com executives also disclosed that the American food production and distribution company will initially acquire over 50 enterprise licenses for the CRM offering.

The Del Monte deal marks the second-largest contract win, to date, in the Philippine market for Salesforce.com, said Steve McWhirter, the SaaS vendor's Asia-Pacific president. He noted that enterprises in the region are "adopting Salesforce.com's CRM [service in] ever-increasing numbers".

Company executives, however, declined to disclose how much the Del Monte deal is worth.

Salesforce.com does not have a local office, but signed a deal earlier this year naming IP-Converge Data Center (IP-Converge) as its sole Philippine partner. IP-Converge is the outsourcing and BPO arm of listed technology group IPVG.

According to Reynaldo Huergas, IP-Converge's president and COO, Del Monte's CRM deployment will go "live" within the year.

He added that more than 30 Philippine companies currently use Salesforce.com services, noting that IP-Converge is also currently the largest user of the vendor's CRM offering.

Huergas said more companies are expected to join the SaaS bandwagon once they realize that the "pay-as-you-go model" is more cost-effective than buying licenses out-of-the-shelf and out-of -the-box.

Del Monte, which operates extensive food processing networks in some key Philippine locations, is looking to automate more of its critical business processes, he said.

Mimi Dizon, director of business development for IP-Converge, said on-demand software services are also gaining interest from some government agencies. Dizon revealed that the BPO service provider is "close" to signing a significant deal from a key government agency, though details of the contract remain under wraps.

According to figures from Springboard Research, the Asia-Pacific SaaS CRM market, excluding Japan, grew some 68 percent last year and is expected to reach US$460 million by 2010.

But while market players such as Salesforce.com and SAP, have jumped on the SaaS bandwagon, others such as Lawson Software say SaaS is nothing more than a hype.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippine.