Salesforce, Google Merge Their "Clouds"Salesforce, Google Merge Their "Clouds"
What do Google Apps, Salesforce and Lava Lamps have in common? I'm not sure either, except that they all starred in a lavish lunch held this afternoon to announce the integration of the two on-demand software suites into a single "cloud computing" solution.
April 14, 2008
What do Google Apps, Salesforce and Lava Lamps have in common? I'm not sure either, except that they all starred in a lavish lunch held this afternoon to announce the integration of the two on-demand software suites into a single "cloud computing" solution.Actually, the combination looked pretty sweet. By integrating Salesforce with Google Apps -- including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Talk, the mashup is able to intelligently and automatically centralize records of all customer touchpoints. Every time you email a contact in Gmail, for example, it's saved into Salesforce. If the email mentions a meeting, it's put on your Google Calendar. Similarly, you can use Google Talk to chat with colleagues about a customer, and choose to include those conversations in the customer record.
It works the other way, too. You can go directly from Salesforce to send emails in Gmail. Update Google Calendar, and Salesforce is updated, too. And the Calendar can include campaign timelines and other information, not just meetings Here's a picture of the demo: According to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, though, the real value is using a full Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Benioff claims that by putting the apps in the "cloud", you get constant updates, not service packs. No 3-year update schedules and no patches. He contends that the traditional software model can't keep up with this merging of the two companies' clouds. (Hmm, wouldn't that just make it overcast?) Anyway, InformationWeek's Paul McDougal agrees that this could be a "challenge to Microsoft's efforts to establish itself in the SMB applications market." That market is still fragmented, although Google said that more than half a million businesses now use Google Apps, and more than 2,000 new businesses join every day. And the majority of those early adopters are smaller companies, not enterprises. Salesforce has some 41,000 businesses as customers. Salesforce for Google Apps is available free to Salesforce customers, and Salesforce for Google Apps Supported -- due this summer -- will cost $10 per user per month and include telephone support as well as unified billing. Despite the generally positive reception for the announcement, perhaps the most heartening feature was the sheer extravagance of the noontime event. Held at the swank Four Seasons San Francisco, the decor centered around giant lava lamps: There were even goodie bags with miniature lava lamps to take home. The menu paired duxelle mushroom chicken with surprisingly high-end wines for a working lunch and finished with a candy bar (no, really, a bar set up with jars of candy to create your own dessert). Recession? What recession?
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