Salesforce.com Pairs CRM Service with Outlook

Customer relationship management concern Salesforce.com Thursday introduced a
new offering that bundles its CRM software with Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail
software without having to rely on additional server integration.


The San Francisco firm said the Outlook Integration solution lets sales and
customer service personnel send and receive e-mail messages through Outlook
and log relevant messages in Salesforce.com through Outlook to provide a
complete scan of customer data. While a first for Salesforce.com, it is
hardly a first in the industry. Competitor UpShot made the same play
last November.


Salesforce.com’s new product relies on its own on-demand platform to lump
Outlook with its CRM service. That is a major reason why this product does
not rely on Microsoft Exchange or some other server for integration: it
uses real-time data lookups via Salesforce.com’s XML application programming
interface to deliver the data. This means workers can communicate using
either application without worry that information will be trapped in desktop
silos.


Further, users can associate inbound and outbound e-mails with the right
lead or contact in Salesforce.com, reducing bothersome e-mail clutter. The
firm makes the case that, by obviating double entry in favor of full
information disclosure, the new application increases productivity.


“Our Outlook integration solution eliminates the need for server
integration, and the IT headaches that go with it, in favor of one-click
installation, with no learning curve,” said Salesforce.com chairman and CEO
Marc Benioff.


Salesforce.com’s on-demand approach to CRM apps was vindicated by a recent
study by research firm Gartner, which found that some 42 percent of all
enterprise CRM software licenses purchased are never deployed. The firm,
which in addition to battling UpShot competes with the likes of PeopleSoft and Siebel in the lucrative CRM app market,
suggested its pay-as-you-go approach produces immediate results and success.

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