Saying that salesforce.com is an award-winning cloud-computing provider is almost a pleonasm. Over the last decade, salesforce.com has constantly been in the top ranks of SFA (sales force automation) systems and recently, global enterprise platforms. Behind the highly visible and criticised “no to software” statement we find actually the desire to deliver software differently, to align IT resources to a speed that businesses were never used to before.
Founded in 1999 as a company specializing in SaaS (Software as a Service), the initial sales automation software took birth. The idea of services “commodification” was the one that inspired the founders to treat software as a “commodity” too. The next step was to find a solution to lower the cost of businesses, implicitely that of IT -as Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce pointed it out in a special interview held by Charlie Rose in November 2011.
Currently referred as a “cloud-computing provider designed for you to manage your customer relationships, integrate with other systems, and build your own applications” (User Guide W’12), Salesforce also integrates visionary ideas inspired from the social networking killerapps like Facebook or Twitter.
Having the beginners mind
One of the leading ideas concerning the Salesforce adventure is their capability to “have the beginners mind” as Marc Benioff declares it. Thus, salesforce.com is accessible to sole entrepreneurs, to medium businesses and to large businesses as well. It provides and supports a platform that inspired entrepreneurs can build on. It is a new business model aiming at supporting the development for exciting new businesses. Salesforce.com and similar platforms enable people to smoothly operate their sales, marketing and partner groups. Additionally there is a great deal of fluent data management and of customization opportunities.
Products and services
Salesforce has developed a set of innovative products and services which can be also included in a broarder category classification:
A set of prebuilt applications for customer relationship management (CRM) ranging from sales force automation to partner relationship management, marketing, and customer service are provided to the Salesforce users.
Sales Cloud enables the users to access the application anywhere via the Interenet. It enables the management of marketing campaigns, tracks opportunity-related data including milestones, decision makers, customer communications, and other information specific to the company’s sales process. The collaborative tool named Chatter is used to be up to date with coworkers and customers status or to initiatie common interest groups.
Service Cloud enables businesses to generate and follow cases coming in from every channel, and automatically select and push what’s important. It is designed to offer more responsive customer service, to increase agent productivity, to reduce service costs, and to gain better visibility into your service organization, whether you’re in the office or on the road.
The Force.com platform is the first platform as a service (PaaS), enabling external developers to create and deliver add-on applications customized for specific business needs. Additionally, the platform also includes easy-to-use, point-and-click customization tools to help end-users create their own solutions.
Database.com is presented as multitenant cloud database service intended to store data for mobile, social, web, and desktop applications. Database.com may be used as the back-end database for applications that are written in any language, and run on any platform or mobile device. Database.com’s built-in social computing infrastructure and native support for building sophisticated REST-based APIs enables users to create employee-facing, native mobile and social apps.
AppExchange is a marketplace featuring hundreds of cloud applications created by salesforce.com customers, developers, and partners. Many of the applications are free and all of them are pre-integrated with Salesforce, enabling users to easily and efficiently add functionality.
Salesforce.com provides training, support, consulting, events, best practices, and discussion boards to help users be successful. It provides the flexibility to handle a large amount of simultaneuous users and to be upgraded at a convenient cost.
Being receptive to the users’ needs
One of the greatest features that Salseforce has is the openness and the will to listen to what current bsuinesses are asking for. The AppExchange’s strategy is already known among software professionals. It makes room for improvement, for new ideas, for customization and for surprising ideas. In fact it is an extension of the collaborative principle guiding the platform all around.
It is not by mistake that there are special sections for support, training and consulting. As there are customers from multiple and diverse industries, it is natural that each domain should have specific requirements and criteria in monitoring their operations. It is always advised to contact a skilled developer individual or team who know the platform and its underlying technologies. It will reduce the total effort of customization and it will be a shorter road to successful applications.
Overmore, it is important that further developments be done by people who really understand the cloud, the tablet, the phone and any other devices which allow businesses more mobility and office-free activities.
The readiness for alignment
Since Codespring team has been delivering SaaS (Software as a Service) and has been developing various applications for public social networking, for private business networking and various ERP enterprise resources planning software or SFA (sales force automation) software, we are ready to undertake projects involving Salesforce integration. Aligning Salesforce tools to a specific organization’s needs must be considered an investment. Businesses and organizations should catch up with the latest technologies otherwise there is the risk of becoming obsolete and not being part of the game.
The social approach
Social media has a great impact on our day-by-day interaction style and – consequently – it changes the way professional interaction is taking place. Carrying personal devices connected 24/7 to theInternet, we access personal and professional information all along. This way, we get to know more about our colleagues, our customers and partners from social networking portals.
The readiness for incorporating successful social strategies starts with understanding how social networking works and building appropriate business profile. Next, business owners are ought to take into consideration the means of how they present their services and products in the social media reality. The final skill to acquire is the way of building a relevant social business network, to sell via the network and automate the process to the possible extent.