Salesforce claims its millionth customer

By on has announced its millionth customer and outlined what lies ahead for the software-as-a-service pioneer..

The customer milestone was reached when Salesforce sealed a deal with financial firm Citi to put more than 30,000 employees on the service.

Chief executive Marc Benioff told attendees at a company event in New York that the next goal would be to eclipse US$1 billion in annual revenues.

"We are the catalyst of the online marketplace, driving the world towards on-demand computing," Benioff told the crowd.

At a separate even in San Francisco, Parker Harris, co-founder and executive vice president of technology, showcased the Salesforce to Salesforce networking feature which allows companies to share data over the Salesforce service.

The feature is the latest piece of the company's offering, which aims to replace entire desktop systems with a single hosted platform.

Harris said that many of the main pieces of are in place, but that there is more work to be done before the service can be considered a finished platform.

One of the top priorities, according to Harris, is making the platform more friendly for developers.

"We need to enhance the componentisation," he explained. "We do not want them to have to make everything from scratch."

Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research at Global Equities Research, said that Salesforce is right to focus on simplifying its platform, but that it should pay attention to profits as well.

"Salesforce needs to focus on expanding its margins," he said, adding that offering big discounts to lure large enterprises is diluting the firm's value and harming its profit margin.

Chowdhry suggested that Salesforce should be cautious about global expansion, making sure that local privacy and regulatory laws are met in each new market.
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