SalesForce 9 Released

This week saw SalesForce launch version 9 of their popular online CRM product. The two things that interested me the most were the workflow visualiser and the free version of the SalesForce platform:

Workflow Visualiser & Process driven CRMs

In the CRM world there are three main types of CRM vendors; interactive, process driven and record centric CRMs:

CRM Vendor Types Current Market Leaders
Interactive eGain Communications
KANA Software
RightNow Technologies
Business Process Driven Sword Ciboodle
Record Centric Microsoft
Oracle Siebel
Oracle CRM on Demand

At the moment the market leader for process driven CRMs is Ciboodle (who I used to work for) and with the Workflow visualiser it really reminds me of Ciboodle and a more process-driven CRM. Ok, you’ve always been able to do workflow in salesforce but they are now allowing you to see visually what your workflow actions are doing and how they flow into each other and with complex workflow actions this is really good news. The only limitation being you can only see your workflow and have to go back to salesforce to continue to edit the workflow.

What is a SalesForce Workflow?

Salesforce Visualiser of a purchase order process

Salesforce Visualiser of a purchase order process

In SalesForce you can setup workflow for a particular process, for example if you create a salesForce application to manage purchase orders you can then setup workflow to trigger manager approval if the purchase order exceeds �10,000. But, for more complex workflow it can be hard to see whats going on so sf have created the workflow visualiser which allows you to visually see the workflow you have created.

This is similar to how process driven CRMs work, where they can excel are in organisations that wish to implement strict processes, for example this could be an outbound call centre were you want to be efficient as possible in making calls. What I would be interesting in knowing is if they have introduced this feature to show SalesForce as being more process driven. In Ciboodle the core of the system is the process tree, linking and editing processes together which looks much like the salesforce visualiser but this only views the process. If you could create apps in this way linking visualforce pages together using workflow and simple create, edit, delete actions SalesForce really could move more into a hybrid system between a record centric and a business process driven system. I doubt they will go any futher than being able to edit your workflow in the visualiser due to the amount of work but always possible. Maybe by including more business process centric tools in SalesForce it could move itself into the Ciboodle area and really have some great features to complete over Microsoft Dynamics, Oralce and SAP.

SalesForce has released a free version of the platform!

Now when I heard SalesForce and free in the same sentence I thought that they may be heading towards a freemium business model, but alas not. I think I need to stress the word platform here, because it doesn’t include Accounts, Contacts, Campaigns, Leads, Opportunities, Forecasts, Products, Cases or SalesForce Solutions. So if you want to code up one application with up to 10 objects to be launched to up to 100 people then maybe you could use it… or maybe something else… up to you. If you want to sign up click here.

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