Unleashes Slew Of New Upgrades, Products

When asked to pinpoint the highlight of all of these announcements, CEO Marc Benioff chose the new customization toolkit. With Customforce, non-programmers can point and click their way toward adding new business processes outside of CRM, such as those for human resources or the supply chain. "Customers have been telling us a long time they want to build applications like the ones we are delivering," Benioff told CRN. "They have all kinds of very specific things they want to do within our framework that's more than just adding tabs and fields. With, they can build a whole new application."

Also new is the On-Demand Marketplace, a catalog of 60 applications and integration services that also fall under the SaaS umbrella. While the notion of such a catalog is intriguing in its own right, it could prove especially useful to implementers and VARs looking to get into the SaaS business. That's because many of the listed ISVs have their own channel networks of solution providers. In contrast's reseller effort remains largely that of paying a one-time referral fee.

In addition, Winter '05 has been upgraded with a variety of new features, including the ability to show salespeople the previously purchased products at prospects' sites. Users also now can view snapshots of historical pipeline data and trends.

The customer service software, introduced little more than a month ago, has been upgraded as well. Now users can better organize their knowledge base of scripts and potential solutions to customers' problems, create workflows to address customer service issues, and set up alerts alerts and reporting for improved case management.

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Finally, new features in sforce '05 include a lead management API and a new meta data feature designed to help developers create applications for mobile devices.