NEW YORK -- Salesforce has helped revolutionize software-as-a-service (SaaS), then helped push platforms-as-a-service as more customers integrated their Salesforce.com on-demand applications with other platforms from Google and Amazon.com.
So it would stand to reason that integration would be the next big phase from the SaaS (define) leader as customers take their platform-integrated applications and then launch them into Web sites or entirely new applications.
On Monday, Salesforce.com talked about its latest approach to connect all the different cloud computing services that are forming for enterprise customers in what it calls a "new era in Enterprise Cloud Computing."
The idea is to help customers run their whole company with Salesforce.com applications customized for their own needs by integrating different application platforms. Call it integration as a service.
Its Checkout service combines its Force.com platform with the AppExchange platform to provide a "single source for finding, trying, buying and deploying Salesforce.com applications and partner-built Force.com applications via the Force.com AppExchange," Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) said today.
The latest news comes at a time when developers are building more Salesforce.com applications natively, added Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com. As a result, "customers can now benefit from a seamless buying experience for both salesforce.com and Force.com partner applications."
Salesforce.com said it has 19 native applications already available on the Force.com Checkout service and that it would not charge independent software vendors to sell any of the applications until 2010.
Connecting the clouds is not the only trend Salesforce.com is planning to build out in 2009 (when these features will be generally available). The company is gearing up to offer applications that enable customers to create more media-friendly presentations and packages, which can then be shared with groups.
They include improved slide presentations that take little more than drag and drop functions, while adding video and PDF documents into one presentation package, which can then be hosted for whole sales teams to pull down and use.