It was over a year and a half ago when I had a chance to listen to Marc Benioff talk about how his company’s software would be integrating with Google to provide a mashup allowing companies to better track their Google advertising. Using the services together, companies would be able to utilize the CRM portion of the software to track where customers came from… Which ad, which keyword, which landing page, etc.
The two companies have decided to take the collaboration one step further and as a result, you will now be able to purchase Google Applications via SalesForce.com and there will be tighter integration between the two companies.
For example, e-mails sent to customers via Google’s mail application will be connected to customer records in SalesForce.com.
While this collaboration is great, there are still companies who worry about how to maintain security when their vital corporate data is stored on the servers of another company.
Perhaps this move will manage to make customers more comfortable with the hosted approach as Google has a strong reputation and helps boost SalesForce.com’s credibility — not that the company really needed it but having such a large partner would help anyone.
In my opinion, there are many companies who don’t want to worry about having idle employees if their broadband provider or router fails.
I have to say that I really appreciate Marc Benioff as a spokesperson for SalesForce.com because he calls them as he sees them. No longer having Tom Siebel to go after, Benioff has resorted to blasting Microsoft.
If you want a more specific example of what I mean, consider the memo put out by Benioff in November of 2005 where he had the following to say:
Last month, our number one competitor surrendered, and decided to take its place beside several former competitors at software’s Shady Pines Rest Home, also known as Oracle. It was a merciful outcome for shareholders, but a time of con"fusion" for customers.
This is what Benioff now has to say about Microsoft:
This will make it easier for us to convince more businesses to stop buying Microsoft Office and switch to better services like this that are emerging in the cloud.
But there is more… He has also said in the past:
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so that makes Google my best friend
Microsoft has proven they will not sit back and take it and in fact to me it seems the company thrives on the competition. In fact Brad Wilson, the company’s general manager for the CRM unit had this to say:
Salesforce has belatedly recognized that it is important to link CRM apps to productivity tools. It has been core to our product since we launched five years ago. It validates our strategy.
But really these comments are more icing on the cake — the fun stuff if you will.
The real meat of this news is that Google and SalesForce.com will collaborate to make their solutions better. They will integrate more effectively and do their best to ensure they have solutions that are very competitive with those sold by not just Microsoft but every other company on the market.
In addition to the obvious synergies between the two companies the real winner here is Google because as this deal strengthens they will get an outside spokesman for their applications in Benioff. This man has proven to get under the skin of the competition and he seems to drive them crazy.
Of course I don’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill but this sort of news could have the potential to unite more Microsoft competitors. It would be interesting to see Adobe, Apple and RIM somehow get involved and say they too will work with SalesForce.com and Google.
This may be a stretch of course but there seems to be momentum growing and perhaps others will see this as a great time to join the party.
Microsoft for its part has a big advantage in the CRM space due to its UC push and the mindshare it has in this market. In addition the company’s close ties with Aspect are a tremendous help in the CRM space — especially as it relates to contact centers.
The war has gotten a lot more interesting over the past month and it will be very interesting to see what the next moves are for each of the various players.