As you may know back in December Dreamforce 2010 kicked off in San Francisco with an opening speech by former President Clinton and live entertainment by Stevie Wonder, reports from colleagues on what a seminal event this was set me thinking what a huge player Salesforce.com has become in a relatively short time. Of course this is not news we have all seen the meteoric rise of Salesforce.com but what also occurred to me is how the Saleforce.com users have changed in their needs and requirements over the last 2 or 3 years.
I began working with Salesforce.com some years ago and have been attending their events for about 3 years now (don’t worry am not going to gloat as I was nowhere near San Francisco). In those few years I have noticed a big change in the people attending Saleforce.com events and what they want to get out of their attendance.
Some 3 years ago everyone at these events wanted to know what Salesforce.com was, how it worked and how they could best use it. Now however we are seeing a shift, people tend to already have Salesforce.com installed and are proficient in its use and applications, now they are faced with other issues such as integrating Salesforce.com with their existing applications and making the most of their existing data.
Salesforce.com implementations are somewhat unique in the world of applications, the reason I say it is unique is nothing to do with the product it is to do with how it has been targeted and sold. I have found that in the vast majority of companies the decision to adopt Salesforce.com has usually been made by someone in sales or marketing, rather than someone in a technical function and therefore it tends to be heavily customised by those users to their requirements.
Hold on I hear you say surely that’s the whole point of Salesforce.com that it is easily customisable!!. Well you are right but at the same time this generates its own issues as those in Sales or Marketing tend not to take into account their existing ERP systems or in house applications when doing these customisations. Thus when Salesforce.com becomes more widely adopted across the enterprise and the MD says “this is great now let’s make it integrate with JDE” issues begin to arise as those in IT have an application thrust upon them with little or no forewarning.
This is the stage that we see the vast majority of people are at now, they have adopted Salesforce.com and are now faced with integrating it with their back end applications. Third-party software allows companies to maximise the benefits of using a CRM tool such as Salesforce.com by enabling integration with existing on-premise applications. The benefits of such integration include:
- Multiply the power and reach of Salesforce.com by enabling the exchange of information between all business applications
- Gain a true 360-degree view of customer information
- Shorten time to market
- Accelerate customer satisfaction with fully connected business processes
- Automate the handling of exceptions and errors in business processes
- Achieve versatility with an open architecture that lets you connect with every database, platform, file and standard format
- Eliminate the need to write low-level code – freeing your staff to focus on business processes
- Extend encryption and security capabilities to both data and business processes
- Easily scale from departmental collaboration to company and enterprise workflows
Obviously Salesforce.com is here to stay and so we in IT must now learn how to maximise it use and ensure it becomes an effective tool.