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Part of the hosted CRM company's next release will focus on integration and a partner portal.

Summer came a little early to San Francisco Tuesday as previewed its next release at an event it dubbed "Integrationforce Day."

The hosted CRM pioneer, which has recently been pushing its customization and integration technology, previewed its Sforce Partner Portal and Sforce 6.0. Both are expected to be a part of the Summer '05 release due in June. The Partner Portal Toolkit is a Java-based application for creating portals on a Web site, allowing companies to share leads, contacts, opportunities and documents with their partners.

CEO Marc Benioff, speaking to customers, analysts and press at the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco, said to succeed has had to integrate with three things -- the desktop, including all Microsoft applications, Lotus tools and wireless desktops; development tools from vendors like Tibco, IBM and BEA Systems; and with enterprise applications like those from SAP and PeopleSoft.

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Read about Multiforce, the other part of the Summer '05 release


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"Now we are on the threshold of managing information other than customer information," Benioff. "That is perhaps the hardest problem we have had to solve."

Sforce 6.0, a platform that manages all data in applications and accessible via a Web services application program interface, will be available at no extra charge to Enterprise Edition customers this summer. It will include a data loading and extraction tool to allow companies to import, export and update information from with data from other applications, including both legacy systems and ERP providers.

A new Sforce single sign-on feature will allow companies to integrate their Windows or lightweight directory access protocol-based information to, giving IT departments the ability to centrally define and control password policies, user permissions and password resets. also announced that its major Sforce toolkits, including the summer releases, will be released as open source code on the sourceforge project.

In November, previewed Multiforce, an on-demand operating system that allows users to switch back and forth between the, Supportforce and other custom-developed applications written on the company's platform. Multiforce will also be featured in the Summer '05 release.

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