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Customer Inter@ction Solutions
January 2007 - Volume 25 / Number 8
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Salesforce.com And Multitenant Integration

By Tracey E. Schelmetic
Editorial Director, Customer Inter@ction Solutions

On-demand solutions provider Salesforce.com has formally announced ApexConnect, a family of multitenant integration solutions created to revolutionize and simplify integration for CIOs and IT departments at customers of all sizes, according to the company.

I recently got a chance to speak with Kendall Collins, Salesforce.com’s Senior Vice President. Collins referred to ApexConnect as “a family of solutions designed for integration success.” “Integration has been an enormous headache for companies,” said Collins. “Thirty percent of costs are tied to integration, according to Gartner (News - Alert). Forrester Research has found that in only 29 percent of CRM employments are people who are satisfied with deployment. It’s not getting any easier. More applications means greater demands on IT departments or integration. But everyone needs to keep costs down and stay simple.”

Getting more out of less seems to be a recurring mantra, particularly in the call center industry, where companies expect stellar customer service from a call center that is expected to be a boost to, not a drain on, an organization. Yet costs are being continually trimmed, putting pressure on organizations to make much more out of much less.

ApexConnect is made possible by the multitenant architecture of the Apex platform, which reduces complexity in IT integration.
Collins continued, “Single-tenant solutions haven’t really met the need for integration. The big problem with Microsoft (News - Alert) CRM for example, is that it’s very complex, fragile and closed. If you look at the interdependencies, what you’ll find is so many moving parts. If any one of these pieces is to be upgraded, you break a lot of your customizations and integrations. Integration isn’t just a bug that hits one time, it comes back every time you do an upgrade. Multitenant integration allows companies to deal with a single version, single code base and centralized API. Apex Connect, which is based on our Apex API, will allow a new level of success for IT departments, and will enable a number of new features and capabilities.”

ApexConnect is being offered to provide customers a comprehensive family of solutions for on-demand integration success, including the new ConnectOut feature of the Apex on-demand platform, an on-demand outbound messaging API; the new ConnectOracle for integrating Salesforce with Oracle (News - Alert) 11i; and a new ApexConnect category of integration partners on the AppExchange.

“ApexConnect is a multi-tenant aspirin for the headache of application integration that today’s CIOs have inherited from their predecessors,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com. “Single-tenant vendors are a major source of integration pain as they continue to force upgrades that quickly break customers’ existing integrations. Multitenant integration with ApexConnect is designed for customer success on The Business Web.”

I asked Kendall Collins what kinds and sizes of businesses the new multitenant platform would appeal to most. He commented, “I think it appeals to companies of all sizes. We started with smaller companies that operated with less resources. Then, larger companies realized they were overspending; they wanted to save money and resources, as well. That’s where you’ve seen the gradual market ascension of Salesforce.com to larger companies. We see multitenancy serving customers of all sizes. As you move up in company size, you see more complexities happening in integration.”

Collins said, “According to a best practices survey, the average company maintains over 55 applications. It takes a huge chunk of the IT budget to maintain upgrades. There are many companies who say they’d love to take advantage of new applications, but are unwilling to break anything they’ve got installed already to do so.”

I asked Kendall to speak more in-depth about the new ConnectOut outbound feature and what it entails. He said, “Now, you’ll have the ability, when an event happens or changes are made, to trigger an outbound message. All of our API transactions were inbound calls on the Salesforce.com service. It’s an asynchronous process between messages. Outbound will now be able to dramatically increase the type and volume of transactions that people will be able to deliver through the API. You can now support real-time processes triggered through Salesforce.com.” He continued, “Think about creating an order or quote within Salesforce...you may want to validate that against another system. In a manufacturing space, you may want to pass it to SAP ( News - Alert) or start a billing process. It’s a great way to initiate outbound processes from Salesforce. It could be outbound services to things like Google, eBay (News - Alert) and Amazon...we increasingly see companies tying their businesses in through these channels.”CIS
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
Editorial Director,
Customer Inter@ction Solutions

For more information about ApexConnect, visit www.salesforce.com.

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