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Hosted customer-relationship management software vendor Salesforce.com Inc. today unveiled major enhancements to its software and revealed several alliances, including a marketing deal with Dell Computer.
The upgrade--Salesforce.com S3--features more than 100 additions to the company's CRM application, including tools that let users share documents, plan sales strategies across teams, and replicate their Salesforce.com data on a local database. S3 is the result of what Salesforce says was a $100 million research and development effort. All of the company's 6,700 customers will be immediately upgraded to S3 automatically and at no charge "whether they like it or not," says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Dell says it will begin offering its small and midsize business customers access to Salesforce's hosted applications through its small-business Web site beginning in August. Dell officials say the move is in response to more and more of their small and midsize business customers looking for a CRM package. "We believe Salesforce.com offers the best solutions for small businesses that want to get up and running quickly," says Melissa Porter, small and midsize business development manager at Dell. Salesforce runs virtually all its software on Dell servers.
Salesforce also said today that it has formed a technology partnership with integration software vendor Tibco Software Inc. Under the agreement, the companies will jointly market the Salesforce.com Tibco Integration server, a set of bundled APIs that will allow companies to integrate their Salesforce applications with back-end systems without the need for custom coding.
As part of its S3 rollout, Salesforce unveiled a number of other new offerings that users can access from within the Salesforce template. Among them: HTML rich-media E-mails; a business-process workflow manager; seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook; and new tools to facilitate team-based selling.
Bettina Slusar, senior VP for global sales at SunGard Software, says those tools are a big plus. "We have many accounts where we need to pull people from across the company, so this could help us manage that a lot more effectively," she says. Slusar adds that the company considered using a large ERP vendor for its CRM needs but opted for Salesforce "because there was no setup or serious integration work required on our part."