SAN FRANCISCO -- Customization, once believed to be a weakness of on-demand CRM, has, in a few short months, become Salesforce.com's rallying cry. The company announced Monday its product release, Spring '04, claiming it to be the "world's most customizable CRM."
Building upon the customization APIs available in the Winter '04 release, the company detailed its customization suite Salesforce.com Studio and application platform sforce 3.0. Both are available immediately to the 9,500 worldwide Salesforce.com customers.
Peter Gassner, Salesforce.com senior vice president, demonstrated the usefulness of salesforce.com Studio in customizing objects, tabs and pages to fit any terminology, industry or business environment. But it was the ease of customization that most impressed users.
"They can customize without programming or proprietary tools," said Cliff Bell, CIO of Phoenix Technologies, Milpitas, Calif.
With Studio's point-and-click simplicity, customization is now available to administrators instead of just developers, according to the company. The release of sforce 3.0 also promises to provide more customization options through improvements to the Web services API and advancements of custom objects.
The Spring '04 release also includes three new tabs, products, contracts and solutions.
In addition to the customization capabilities of Spring '04, new to this release are Lotus Notes support and offline PDA editions. These join Microsoft Office and Outlook as desktop applications that are fully integrated with Salesforce.com.
Pat Sueltz, executive vice president of technology, marketing and systems, said that Salesforce.com is "democratizing enterprise applications."
A recent implementer of Salesforce.com, Mark Goddard, vice president of Operations at Payment Processing, Inc. of Newark, Calif. agreed.
"We are initially rolling out Salesforce.com to the sales people, but soon we will give everyone access to it," Goddard said. "We chose Salesforce.com because we wanted to use it as a decision guide."
Meanwhile, Salesforce.com also announced a new group of partners for the Spring '04 release that signal an expansion of accessibility to Salesforce.com. The new partners include: Visible Path, a New York-based developer of Relationship Capital Management (RCM) platforms; WebEx a provider of real-time Web meetings; Logitech, which designs, manufactures and markets personal interface products; BlackBerry by Research in Motion, a wireless enterprise solution; IBM WebSphere; InsideScoop, a provider of data quality management solutions for Salesforce.com; and Vettro, a designer of mobile applications specifically for Salesforce.com.