Salesforce.com Opens Up to VARs
If you’re a solutions provider seeking to develop hosted applications, it might be time to give Salesforce.com a call. Here’s why.
In the past, third-party software hosted on Salesforce.com’s AppExchange typically connected to Salesforce.com’s own CRM applications. But now, the company is opening up its servers for third-party apps that don’t necessarily require Salesforce.com’s own software. The initiative, known as Salesforce Platform Edition, allows partners to write hosted applications for HR, IT, legal, finance, R&D and other enterprise departments.
Hmmm. Sounds like Salesforce.com wants to amass an army of partners to compete with traditional ERP applications from Oracle and SAP. The VAR Guy hasn’t had a chance to speak with Salesforce.com partners about this new Platform initiative. But it sounds intriguing. And there’s no doubting Salesforce.com’s momentum in the hosted applications space.
Still, be sure to ask plenty of questions before you bet your business on a partner’s hosted platform. For instance, if you work with Salesforce.com will they gain access to your customer information? Can Salesforce.com attempt to sell your customers additional applications? If you write an application for the Salesforce.com system are you free to host it elsewhere? How do you write service-level agreements with customers when you’re dependent on Salesforce.com to keep the system online?
Lots of questions. Lots of potential risks. But partnering with Salesforce.com is a way to get into the online application business without necesarily building an entire platform and data center from scratch. Just be sure to go in with your eyes wide open, folks.