Salesforce launches CRM Winter '09 edition

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Salesforce launches CRM Winter '09 edition

The next edition of Salesforce.com's customer relationship management (CRM) technology will allow businesses to easily share data with partners.

Salesforce CRM Winter '09 will allow firms to share sales leads, contacts and company information without needing to purchase complex integration software, according to the firm.

"Everyone works with people outside their company, and so should your CRM," said Beagle Research analyst Dennis Pombriant. "Salesforce CRM delivers business applications without borders."

Salesforce CRM Winter '09 will also allow customers to use Salesforce CRM content management capabilities with online productivity suite Google Apps.

Building on the OEM agreement signed between Google and Salesforce earlier this year, the new application will offer deeper integration between the two suites, according to Tim Barker, Salesforce senior director of products.

A new feature in Salesforce Content, which recommends relevant content to users, will suggest content that complements information which customers have in Google Apps. Barker referred to this as the Content Analytics feature.

Salesforce also today unveiled a new way for businesses to collaborate with customers through Force.com Sites. This new offering will allow businesses to integrate internal CRM ap plications with public-facing web sites.

Finally, Salesforce customers will have access to a new service that helps keep data consistent. On Demand Data Synchronisation will be available from data integration specialist Informatica.

Key capabilities of the new service include mapping tools, which recognise that different systems will structure data differently and ensure that users slot data in the right pigeonholes. A simple web-based management console, meanwhile, will monitor all data synchronisation jobs.

However, while Salesforce celebrates its current and future success at its Dreamforce customer and partner event in San Francisco, rival CRM provider FrontRange Solutions claimed that a significant number of Salesforce customers are opting for FrontRange following complications with the cloud provider.

"We get lots of people come back to us because of things like cost and data security issues, but mainly because of the lack of flexibility the software-as-a-service platform offers," said Greg Anderson, FrontRange Solutions Goldmine global general manager.

Anderson explained that customers have complained to him about the continuous updates a cloud computing infrastructure entails. Every quarter when Salesforce brings out a new release, customers need to go through all the testing procedures again, he said.
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