Salesforce.com Inc. is focusing on integration with the Summer ’05 edition of its online customer relationship management (CRM) product, it said earlier this month.
The release, due online in June, includes Sforce 6.0, an upgrade to the Salesforce.com integration offering. Part of Sforce 6.0 is a new Sforce Partner Portal toolkit that will let users create dedicated Web sites for partners. Salesforce.com unveiled and demonstrated several of the new features at a San Francisco event that it dubbed “Integrationforce Day.”
Another part of the new edition is Multiforce, which will allow users to either customize or build multiple applications running on top of shared services. Applications built on the platform can share a single data repository and use the same security features and user interface. Multiforce was announced in March and shown this month for the first time.
Multiforce is built atop Sforce using Salesforce.com’s Customforce customization toolset. It is designed to let customers and third-party developers expand on Salesforce.com’s platform, so the service can go beyond CRM to provide other hosted services such as event planning or recruiting support.
“We’re building a platform,” Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff, said in a presentation at the event. He taunted traditional software vendors Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp., Siebel Systems Inc. and SAP AG for running years behind in offering a CRM product that can be easily integrated with a user’s other enterprise applications.
In addition to the Partner Portal toolkit, Sforce 6.0 includes a new Data Loader to let customers upload large chunks of data to Salesforce.com’s systems, and a new Self Service application programming interface (API ). The API lets customers include the features of Salesforce.com’s self-service Web site in other sites and applications, Salesforce.com said.
Another new feature is single sign-on, which gives customers the option of linking their enterprise user directory to Salesforce.com. This would mean a user signed on to Windows would not need to log on separately to Salesforce.com. Directories supported include Microsoft’s Active Directory and other Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory services.
The single sign-on and the partner portal features jumped out at Christopher Pokrana, responsible for relationship management applications at United Way of America, a charitable organization that hopes to start a Salesforce.com pilot with 300 users in June. “Single sign-on is something I have been asking for,” Pokrana said.
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