forecasts a 'cloudy' Spring

By on forecasts a 'cloudy' Spring has rolled out the latest version of its hosted CRM platform.

The company said that while the US Spring 09 update to the service will sport more than 50 updates, much of the attention went to the customer service and sales elements of the CRM offering.

Known as the "service cloud" and "sales cloud," the new services will beef up a CRM offering that the company considers to be of increasing importance.

Al Falcione, director of product marketing for, told that his company thinks managing and maintaining relationships with customers could be a deciding factor in whether companies can come out of the economic crisis.

"It is a big release for us," said Falcione.

"CRM has become more important than ever in the market."

In the 'service cloud', the company is hoping to increase the use of multiple web sources, such as search engines and social networking services to provide customer service and support by way of built-in applications for the sites on the Salesforce CRM service.

This, said Falcione, is aimed at easing reliance on call-centers both for customers and businesses.

In the 'sales cloud,' the company has taken a new approach to the way that it allows users to organize and share data.

The new service will introduce the ability for salespeople to search and tag both presentations and multimedia files regarding a specific client or product and then share the packaged materials on a single website, thus removing the need to send large bundles of files to recipients and allowing multiple forms of content to be presented within single URL.

Additionally, the Spring 09 release will offer the 'opportunity genius,' a feature which categorises past and current business deals, allowing sales staff to compare notes and share ideas.

Salesforce hopes that the update will allow it to thrive in what chief executive Marc Benioff predicts to be a banner year for hosted services.

"This is the year of cloud computing for the CRM industry and is the undisputed leader," he declared.

" is helping companies grow their business without growing costs by delivering a cloud computing solution for customer service and sales."

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