Salesforce.com and automation application

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Salesforce.com built and delivered a sales force automation application (which automates sales functions such as tracking sales leads and prospects and forecasting sales) that was suitable for the typical salesperson and built a business around making that application available over the Internet through a browser.

The company then expanded by encouraging the growth of a software ecosystem around its extended set of customer relationship management (CRM) applications, prompting other companies to integrate their business applications with those of Salesforce.com (or build components to add to Salesforce.com). It began, for example, by allowing customers to change tabs and create their own database objects. Next, the company added what it called the AppExchange, which added published application programming interfaces (APIs) so that third-party software providers could integrate their applications into the Salesforce.com platform.

Most AppExchange applications are more like utilities than full-fledged packaged apps. Many of the packages sold through the AppExchange are for tracking. For example, one tracks information about commercial and residential properties another optimizes the sales process for media/advertising companies; still another package analyzes sales data.

Salesforce.com took its offerings a step further by offering its own language called Apex. Apex is used only within the Salesforce.com platform and lets users build business applications and manage data and processes. A developer can use Apex to change the way the application looks. It is, in essence, the interface as a service.

With the advent of cloud computing, Salesforce.com has packaged these offerings into what it calls Force.com, which provides a set of common services its partners and customers can use to integrate into their own applications. Salesforce. com has thus started to also become a Platform as a Service vendor. Among the hundreds of applications that run on Force.com, it now offers a variety of HR software, and financial, supply chain, inventory, and risk management components. Just as Amazon is currently the trailblazer among the Infrastructure as a Service vendors, Salesforce. com is the trailblazer among the Software as a Service vendors. However, many vendors are now providing Applications as a Service. It has become a popular option for selling software.

Source of Information : cloud computing for dummies 2010 retail ebook distribution

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