Salesforce Plans Government Cloud, AppExchange

Enterprise cloud computing firm and social enterprise stalwart Salesforce has unveiled plans for a dedicated government cloud and accompanying app store. The company announced its intentions at its recent at CLOUDFORCE 2012 event in Washington, D.C.

According to Salesforce, the cloud offering will be a dedicated, multiagency instance based on its cloud infrastructure, operating in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). It is slated for deployment in Q3 2012. AppExchange for Government has already launched and will serve as an app marketplace for national, state and local agencies.

At its CLOUDFORCE gathering last month in hometown San Francisco, Salesforce announced Salesforce Rypple and Site.com. The Rypple platform attempts to make performance management social, including setting goals and providing feedback, all within a company’s own social network. Adding human resources management to its toolbox, in Talkin’ Cloud’s opinion, added to the Salesforce rivalry with Oracle and SAP.

Salesforce Site.com, meanwhile, is designed for marketers to update their social media pages websites quickly with fresh content that delivers a consistent brand image.

The government cloud will serve federal, state and municipal agencies; it will be “multitenant” only in the sense that it services multiple government offices. Non-government customers will be isolated from the Salesforce dedicated cloud instance. In addition to the FISMA requirements, the new government cloud will support SSAE 16 (formerly SAS 70), ISO 27001, PCI-DSS Level 1, Safe Harbor and TRUSTe.

Salesforce has launched the AppExchange for Government with more than 60 apps (out of 1,400) chosen for government and public sector needs. Examples include:


  • BasicGov: Built on Force.com, it allows cities, counties, state governments and government agencies to streamline permits, inspections, code enforcement, planning, licensing and citizen access.

  • DocuSign: An eSignature application based on Force.com that helps government streamline workflows to accelerate transactions and reduce costs thanks to a faster capability for sending, signing, tracking and storing documents in the cloud.

  • SchoolForce: This app includes Student Information System (SIS) modules such as attendance, behavior, homework, student records and gradebook, as well as collaboration and document management, all of which can be shared through a Web portal with parents and students.


Krishnan Subramanian, in a Cloud Ave. post, noted the U.S. government is one of the largest consumers of IT resources in the world and has, shall we say, an "800-pound gorilla effect" on vendors and suppliers contracting with it. Contractors have no choice but to toe the line when it comes to FISMA and other compliance obligations, which in turn means government clouds are government-only clouds. Salesforce is now seeking its own slice of the "government pie," as Subramanian called it; Google, IBM and Microsoft have already struck out prospecting for government gold.

“The bureaucracy of legacy government IT is preventing agencies from embracing innovative technologies that deliver immediate value,” said Vivek Kundra, executive VP of emerging markets at Salesforce, in a prepared statement. “We must end the era where government spends millions of dollars and waits years for IT projects that never work. Now, salesforce.com offers a solution the government needs to break down barriers to innovation and eliminate wasteful IT spending.”

It may interest you to know that Kundra was hired by Salesforce after serving as CIO for the Obama administration.

It will be interesting to observe the effect that cloud computing has on government operations. I can only hope that Kundra is correct, and the result will be greater efficiency and innovation.
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