On-demand customer relationship management (CRM) application vendor
used the winter release of its
flagship CRM service Salesforce SFA to formally launch Apex, a new platform and programming
First announced in October, the Apex platform allows corporate and in-house developers to create business applications, such as data models and objects, to manage data in an on-demand environment.
Salesforce.com will host the new applications and the data centers needed to
capture information, which means that customers will not be burdened with
those infrastructure costs.
The Apex platform includes a workflow engine for managing collaboration of
data between users, a user interface model to handle forms and other
interactions and a Web services API for programmatic access, mash-ups and
integration with other applications and data.
The Web services API will make it possible to access and manage complex data
relationships — such as a set of information about an account, all the
products they have bought and all of their contacts — in a single request.
The real-time messaging and integration feature allows the on-demand CRM
application to notify other applications running in an enterprise
environment, including middleware, message busses or software applications,
of new business events like the creation of a new customer or the closing of
a sales opportunity.
The Apex launch represents the next step for Salesforce.com in expanding into being the hub of an on-demand applications universe from being a simple CRM application vendor.
In addition to allowing developers to
create and expand on existing on-demand applications, the platform will also
enable them to offer these new extensions and applications to other
Salesforce.com customers on the AppExchange platform.
“By making the Apex platform and programming language available,
Salesforce.com is enabling the ecosystem to lead the way for the next level
of innovation in on-demand,” said Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc
Benioff in a statement.
Forrester analyst Liz Herbert noted that the real-time messaging feature
will make Salesforce.com a more important player in enterprise environments,
which tend to have a greater variety of on-premise and on-demand
applications than smaller or mid-size firms.
“It’s a big step forward in integration capabilities,” she told
internetnews.com in October, when the platform was first announced.
Salesforce.com is also giving developers an early look at the beta version
of the new Apex programming code today, and expects to make the beta
available to customers later this year.
The Java-like code, also announced last fall, will allow developers to
customize the core features and functionality of their Salesforce.com
Vendors of on-premise software, like SAP
, have noted that
appropriate for complex organizations, because they are based on a single
The specter of seeing Salesforce.com
address this gap has therefore raised blood pressures throughout the industry.
The winter release of the SFA application includes a number of
enhancements intended to improve user productivity.
Salesforce Console, built using AJAX, enables users to create a completely
custom desktop and see more information in a single view. Since information
is grouped in multiple windows, user productivity increases because of
the single-click access to all the information they need.
Salesforce also added an AJAX-based calendar enabling users to access
records through the use of hovers. The AJAX calendar also includes pop-up
reminders and enhanced territory management allowing customers to assign
accounts based on predetermined territory rules.