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Integration Adds Up for Salesforce.com

Web-based ASPs, once thought to be isolated islands of online applications, are out to show the software world that integration is not a problem. Last week, Atomz and WebSideStory announced an alliance build to integrate their services (see Atomz, WebSideStory Integrate Search, CMS and Analytics) and today Salesforce.com announced pre-built accounting adapters to Intuit's QuickBooks and Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains accounting software.

The adapters are designed to provide customers with the capability to integrate Salesforce.com's on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) online service with a choice of accounting applications. San Francisco-based Salesforce.com claims today's announcement marks the first time a pre-built Great Plains adapter is available for any CRM application.

"We believe that our customers should have the freedom to use the best CRM application and the best accounting application at their disposal, rather than being limited by predefined and packaged processes," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com.

The adapters were built by eBRIDGE Software Inc. and are designed to use Salesforce.com's online platform and XML API to tie the CRM online service with accounting applications without requiring server-level integration.

A one-button installation process, Salesforce.com said, lets users take advantage of integration between CRM and accounting applications, which includes automatic synchronization of account, opportunity and contact information between the applications. Connectors for ACCPAC, Solomon and others will be available shortly, Salesforce.com reports.

"Salesforce.com's online platform and open XML-based API enabled the rapid development and deployment of adapters to applications, with the result that we can offer a Great Plains connector months before Microsoft itself brings one to market," Benioff said.

While both QuickBooks and Great Plains are well-established accounting applications in small and midsize businesses, respectively, Cary Fulbright, Salesforce's com senior vice president of marketing, told ASPnews that demand is greatest among the company's small business users. "Within our small business customer base, which represents about a third of our revenues, there is much greater demand for QuickBooks than for Great Plains. This just reflects the much bigger installed base of the Intuit product over the Microsoft product."

Salesforce.com is listed by ASPnews as a Top 20 Service Provider.


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