Article

Should Salesforce.com change its name?

Ben Vigil, Technical Editor

With the stir that Salesforce.com caused with its initial public offering, one might expect sweeping changes and soaring stock prices one year later. While the stock has proven to be a solid investment and the past year has seen an increase in the number of customers and employees, it seems the core values of the company have changed little. However, those values may eventually lead the company to more changes in the future.

"The core of our business -- our commitment to our customers' success -- has not changed," said Adam Gross, director of product marketing for Sforce. To continue to help customers realize this success, Salesforce.com has embarked on a departure from its traditional CRM-style service offerings.

At an event announcing the Summer '05 release of Salesforce.com Tuesday, chairman and CEO Marc Benioff likened Salesforce.com's offerings to the components of the client/server computing model: the user interface, the applications, tools, platforms and the operating system. Benioff said Salesforce.com offered services that mimicked these computing components: Salesforce.com and Supportforce.com were at the application level; the tool component was represented by Customforce, Salesforce.com's customization tool; and the platform was represented by Sforce, the company's database service.

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Of course, the examples Benioff offered in the client/server model were represented by some of the biggest players in the industry -- Oracle Corp., Microsoft and Siebel Systems Inc.

"A colleague of mine said that he thought Salesforce.com was out to rule the world," said Mitchell Baxter, executive vice president of business development at Esker Software, a longtime customer of Salesforce.com.

Baxter said he had seen few differences at Salesforce.com since last year's initial public offering.

"They still do the things we appreciated in the first place." he said "They deliver what they say they will and they listen to our needs. If anything, they've become bolder in the last year."

Part of this boldness is visible in Salesforce.com's service offerings, which are slowly moving away from being solely CRM based. "We like to say 'no software,' notice that we don't say 'no CRM software'," said Gross, referring to Salesforce.com's browser-based, on-demand model.


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