Archive for November, 2006

Winter 07′ Coming January 12th

winter 2007 Just got an email that the upgrade is scheduled for the NA4 server on January 12th at 6pm PST. If anyone else got a different date for another server, please let us know. Click here for all of the functionality planned for the new release.

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November 21, 2006 at 9:21 pm 5 comments

Marc Benioff On The Art of War

Thanks to Sonshi.com for the tip on a recent interview with Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. The full article can be found here: http://sonshi.com/benioff.html.

A couple of highlights:

Sonshi.com: Would you mind sharing with our readers a time when the book helped you to compete in business and/or helped you in your life?

Benioff: One of the most important tenants of the book focuses on strategic thinking rather than combative thinking. That advice has helped us decide to position ourselves in a way that makes people want to join our mission—rather than attack us. A perfect example of this is exemplified by our decision to open up our platform. If we had been thinking combatively, we would have been afraid about competitors learning too much about us, or we would have had concerns about them duplicating our moves. Instead, we opened up the platform, first with API, then with something called Customforce, a suite of tools behind salesforce.com that allows regular business people to easily extend their current salesforce.com applications, and then with Apex, a breakthrough development platform that lets customers create and run any type of application on demand. By inspiring people to join us and work with us creatively, we gathered an army of innovators who are dedicated to making us better.


Sonshi.com: The mantra at salesforce.com is the “End of Software.” How would a company looking for CRM benefit from choosing salesforce.com over more traditional software companies like Oracle or SAP?

Benioff: Every company wants to focus on what they do best, and please their customers. And while the technology models of the past have promised to help them do this, the result was too often cost and complexity. We offer an alternative that allows our customers to focus on what’s important.

We think that there has been something fundamentally wrong with the technology industry—particularly for buyers—for a long time. There’s been an unnecessary burden placed on customers to ensure that enterprise software delivers on the vendors’ promised results. The customer has been required to piece together an overall solution (traditionally of application software, middleware software, database software, networking & telecommunication infrastructure, hardware servers, and client devices). These pieces are assembled after purchase and require continuous fine-tuning and support.

Maybe if these software applications worked, it would be okay. The problem is, they don’t. Over the past number of years, enterprise software customers have made large investments—usually more than they had anticipated—and received little in return. In fact, more than half of all new enterprise systems have failed completely!

As an alternative to the current system, salesforce.com offers Web-based applications. It’s now been proven that on-demand solutions can deliver immediate benefits at reduced risks and costs. Our application utility model, which we promote as “The End of Software,” focuses on eliminating conventional software in favor of a software-as-service model. What we mean by this is that users pay a reasonable monthly fee as opposed to tens of thousands (to millions) of dollars to install and upkeep the CRM solution. Since the solution requires no software or hardware to buy, install, maintain, or upgrade, customers typically realize savings of greater than 90 percent versus similar client/server solutions. The best part is that it works: salesforce.com is designed to be as simple to use as sites like Amazon or Yahoo, while at the same time it’s capable of handling a company’s complex CRM needs.

November 12, 2006 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

Mapquest for Salesforce.com – Free Integrated Mapping

When I first saw Arrowpointe’s Google Maps Mashup for Salesforce.com, I was drooling over the functionality but I lack the technical skills to pull this kind of implementation off. When I met the folks from Mapquest at Dreamforce 2006, they promised a free and easy to install application that would give me the ability to map a contact or account and see others that are nearby.

While I don’t really “need” this functionality it sounded cool and I knew I wanted to give it a try. The application launched a couple of days ago so I sat down today to install it and see what it had to offer. After downloading the app from the exchange I didn’t see any of the buttons or functionality – what I didn’t realize is that there is a customization document with some instructions that you need to follow before this will work. At first the 37 page PDF was a little intimidating, but its filled with tons of easy to follow screen-shots (trust me – if I can do it anyone can). The only hiccup I had was when the instructions stated to copy and paste the code for the custom formula but the formula had some extra spaces in it that need to be removed first. When it wasn’t working for me I emailed their support and got an immediate response with how to correct it. Once you’ve created your custom formulas you’re pretty much ready to go. I think this would take most folks less than 15 minutes to get up and running.

Once you install the functionality you can let the fun begin. Go to any account or contact and you now have a Mapquest button that you can click to pull up a map of their area. Hover over the “dot” that represents your account and a callout flag pops up with the account information and links to show the details of that record, nearby accounts and contacts for that account. Click on the “nearby accounts” link and other “dots show up that you view by hovering over them. At this point you can see all of your accounts within the specified radius along with quick links to view their information.

Mapquest screenshot

Mapquest 2

For a non-techie like me, this is cool functionality that I never would have been able to develop on my own.  Some suggestions to make a good idea even better:

  1. Extend the mapping ability to leads
  2. Give users the ability to type in an address or zipcode and pull up accounts / contacts within the proximity rather than having to find the account first
  3.  Let users set a default address and add a link to directions to or from the specified account.

November 7, 2006 at 10:09 pm 25 comments

Excel Collaboration Tool Launches on AppExchange

Collaborall launched an application on the exchange last week called Excellory that lets teams of people use and edit Excel spreadsheets within the SFDC environmnent. Different than Google Spreadsheets, Excellory actually uses Excel, a format most people are already comfortable with. Pricing starts at $1 per user / per month for 25+ users or $3 per user / per month for 5 users. It looks like the standard “non-salesforce” version is free on their website. Several collaborative spreadsheet products are already on the market, but this is the first to work within the SFDC framework. Look for someone to build a Google Spreadsheets for Salesforce once the API becomes available.

Excellory for Salesforce

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November 5, 2006 at 8:33 pm 4 comments


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