At Salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce today they have announced a new service called Force.com Sites. This may provide a great deal of value to small businesses in the near future. First a little history on how Salesforce has evolved to this juncture.
Recent History of Salesforce.com Evolution
Salesforce.com is best known for their easy to use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that runs as a service that you pay for monthly. Their application is hosted from their servers and users access the service over the Internet.
Salesforce has been expanding on it’s CRM software by building a community of developers and organizations that are focused on providing their own Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications by leveraging Salesforce’s software technology platform Force.com and the AppExchange.
How Force.com Sites May Help Your Small Business
Today’s announcement is important for several reasons as some details emerge about Force.com Sites. Most of what I’ve gathered is from Phil Wainewright who is attending Dreamforce and blogs for ZDNet (See Phil’s post on Force.com Sites).
Here’s the important news for small businesses:
- Force.com Sites will be a free add-on to existing Salesforce.com licenses provided customers stay within fixed pageview limits — up to 50,000 pageviews per month for Group Edition customers (most SMB’s will have less than 50,000 pageviews a month)
- Use your own custom domain (web address) e.g. “yourbusiness.com” instead of “force.com/yourbusiness/”
- Integration with Salesforce.com applications such as your CRM
- Manage complex content and data without programming? (I gotta see it to believe it)
Will This Be a Landmark Change?
It will be interesting to see the type of applications that are created using this new service. If it turns out to be as it sounds, the gap between public website and backend CRM or intranet will be shortened or eliminated. While it is possible to integrate backend and frontend it is difficult to do and requires programming knowledge.
If Salesforce can make the process easy enough for end users to publish and manage complex interactive data on their websites this would be a landmark shift as Phil suggests. However, as I see it right now, this still appears to be a developer intensive initiative at this point in time.
I’ll be watching closely as more info is released following Dreamforce. While the verdict is still out on Force.com Sites. Salesforce is definitely a company you need to be familiar with as a small business owner or entrepreneur. If you are interested in Salesforce software please contact me for consultation. The Google Apps/Adwords software ingtegrated with Salesforce CRM is a great combination for small businesses.
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