Salesforce.com introduced its first product for individuals and very small businesses, offering them the ability to store and manage contacts and accounts online.
The Contact Manager Edition, introduced Wednesday, costs $9 per user per month and is available for as few as one or two users.
Features include the ability to store and manage contacts and accounts and track e-mail communications from Microsoft Outlook, Google Gmail and Yahoo Mail. In addition, users can run pre-configured and customized reports on contacts, accounts and associated activities.
The service can be customized to track specific data and is pre-integrated with with Google Apps, which is Google's online document collaboration service.
Salesforce.com typically targets its service to small and medium-sized businesses and departments of larger corporations. However, the software-as-a-service vendor has decided to take its products downstream as competition intensifies.
Marc Benioff, chief executive of the company, told a conference call last month following the release of financial results that Oracle and Microsoft were working hard to win business with their own subscription-based CRM software services. "We are seeing our competitors do just about anything to try to win a deal from us," he said.
Nevertheless, Salesforce.com has managed to stay ahead of the pack. The company reported a year-over-year revenue increase of 20% for the second fiscal quarter ended July 31. Net income rose 112%.
CRM is popular with companies trying out a hosted software service, because it requires the least integration with on-premise software systems. As a result, traditional software vendors typically start with CRM in beefing up a presence in cloud computing.
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