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Salesforce Adds Business Process Development To Force.com

Rick Whiting

Salesforce said the new Force.com Visual Process Manager would particularly appeal to developers in such industries as financial services, manufacturing and telecommunications that are looking for faster ways to automate business processes.

The new tools help programmers add business process capabilities to applications without low-level coding, according to Salesforce, and more easily adapt those processes when needed.

"We think it should be as easy as letting someone draw a process on a white board ... click a button and let it run in the cloud," said Ariel Kelman, vice president of Force.com marketing.

Visual Process Manager could be used to develop business processes that cover call center procedures and sales methodologies, customer issue resolution and product return issues, billing and collection processes, employee on-boarding procedures, regulatory compliance, and supplier management processes, according to the company.

Those processes can be embedded within a customer's Salesforce Sales Cloud 2 or Service Cloud 2 application deployment, as well as within a custom application built on Force.com.

Visual Process Manager is based on technology Salesforce acquired last year when it bought Informavores, a developer of call scripting and business orchestration software for service call centers.

Features of Visual Process Manager include a process designer, a process wizard builder, a process simulator for testing a designed process, and a real-time process engine that runs a company's processes and automatically scales them to meet business needs.

The vendor is positioning the new Force.com component as an alternative to process management design tools in other platforms, including Microsoft's .Net and IBM's WebSphere and Lotus Notes. There are also a number of standalone business process management tools from such vendors as Pegasystems and Progress (which acquired BPM software vendor Savvion last month).

In November Salesforce said that IT departments have built and deployed 135,000 custom applications on the Force.com platform and that more than 200,000 programmers have joined the Force.com development program.

Visual Process Manager can be used by corporate IT developers, ISVs that develop cloud applications on Force.com, and Salesforce channel partners that sell Force.com bundled with services for vertical industries.

Force.com Visual Process Manager is available now, priced at $50 per user, per month.

Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at rwhiting@thechannelcompany.com.

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