||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (September 2014)|
|Traded as||NYSE: CRM
S&P 500 Component
San Francisco, California, US
(Chairman & CEO)
(Exec. VP of Technology)
Social enterprise solutions
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references
As of April 2013.
Salesforce Inc. is a global cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Though best known for its customer relationship management (CRM) product, Salesforce has also expanded into commercial applications of social networking through acquisition. As of 2015, it is one of the largest American cloud computing companies with a market capitalization of $40 billion, although the company has never turned a profit since its inception in 1999.
- 1 History
- 2 Services
- 3 Technologies
- 4 Operations
- 5 Community
- 6 Criticisms
- 7 Acquisitions
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The company was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez as a company specializing in software as a service (SaaS). Harris, Moellenhoff and Dominguez, three software developers previously at consulting firm Left Coast Software, were introduced to Benioff through friend and former Oracle colleague Bobby Yazdani. Harris and team wrote the initial sales automation software, which launched to its first customers in the fall of 1999.
In June 2004, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol CRM, raising US$110 million. Marc Benioff and Magdalena Yesil were the initial basic connection investors and board members. Other early investors include Larry Ellison, Halsey Minor, Stewart Henderson, Mark Iscaro, and Igor Sill of Geneva Venture Partners, as well as Nancy Pelosi.
In July 2012 Salesforce applied to trademark the term "Social enterprise" in the US, EU and Jamaica where the term was in widespread use to describe businesses with a primarily social purpose. This was successfully challenged by a campaign called #notinourname which was launched by Social Enterprise UK resulting in Salesforce.com withdrawing their trademark application and agreeing not to use the term in their future marketing.
Salesforce.com's customer relationship management (CRM) service is broken down into several broad categories: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Data Cloud (including Jigsaw), Collaboration Cloud (including Chatter), Analytics Cloud and Custom Cloud (including Force.com), with over 100,000 customers.
Salesforce.com is the primary enterprise offering within the Salesforce1 Platform, and provides companies with an interface for case management and task management, and a system for automatically routing and escalating important events. The Salesforce customer portal provides customers the ability to track their own cases, includes a social networking plug-in that enables the user to join the conversation about their company on social networking websites, provides analytical tools and other services including email, chat, Google search, and access to customers' entitlement and contracts.
The Sales Cloud includes a real-time sales collaborative tool called Chatter.
Force.com is a platform as a service (PaaS) that allows developers to create multitenant add-on applications that integrate into the main Salesforce.com application. Force.com applications are hosted on Salesforce.com's infrastructure.
Force.com applications are built using Apex (a proprietary Java-like programming language for Force.com) and Visualforce (an XML syntax typically used to generate HTML). The Force.com platform receives three complete releases a year. As the platform is provided as a service to its developers, every single development instance also receives all these updates.
In the Spring 2015 release a new framework for building user interfaces, lightning components, was introduced in beta. Lightning components are built using the open-source Aura Framework but with support for Apex as the server-side language instead of Aura's Java dependency. This has been described as an alternative to, not necessarily a replacement for, Visualforce pages.
Work.com, previously Rypple, is a social performance management platform that helps managers and employees improve work performance through continuous coaching, real-time feedback, and recognition. It is marketed as a solution for sales performance, customer service, marketing, and as a service that can be employed by human resource departments.
Work.com facilitates collaboration and shared contribution to individual, team, and organizational goals, and facilitates the exchange of feedback anonymously and publicly between peers and managers, and breaks down under:
- Alignment: Utilize social goals and real-time coaching to help individuals and teams align around organizational goals.
- Motivation: Improve team motivation and recognize achievement publicly with features like real-time thanks and recognition, tangible rewards, and customized recognition badges.
- Performance: Provide efficient performance assessments with features like anonymous peer and manager feedback, performance calibration, and creation of performance summaries from data gathered via the 'Alignment' and 'Motivate' products.
Work.com, then known as "Rypple", was founded by Daniel Debow and David Stein, who wanted to create a simple way of asking for feedback anonymously at work. The company was formed in May 2008 and their client list included Mozilla, Facebook, LinkedIn and the Gilt Groupe. Rypple "'reverses the onus on the demand for more feedback' by getting employees to build and manage their own coaching networks."
In September 2011, Rypple announced that they had hired Bohdan Zabawskyj as its Chief Technology Officer.
In 2011, Rypple developed a more formalized management methodology called OKR ('Objectives and Key Results') for Spotify. Rypple also partnered with Facebook to create "Loops," short for 'feedback loops', which gathers feedback from co-workers, 'thank you's', progress against goals, and coaching from supervisors into one channel for a "rich, robust, continuous performance review".
In December 2011, Salesforce.com announced that they would acquire Rypple. The transaction was completed in 2012 and Rypple was rebranded as Work.com in September 2012.
Data.com is also an online business directory of companies and business professionals that is built, maintained and accessed by a worldwide community of over a million subscribers. A large database allows members to exchange and share the business information of more than 29 million contacts from over 4 million companies. This information consists of what is commonly found on a business card.
Data.com utilizes a user-generated database that's continually updated by its members. Data.com's contacts act as a virtual business card, offering name, title, postal and email addresses and direct-dial phone numbers for individual contacts.
Desk.com, previously known as Assistly, is a cloud-based helpdesk system for interacting with customers and solving customer issues. Desk.com includes the following features:
- Multi-channel capabilities for handling customer requests (portal/knowledgebase, chat, email, Twitter, callback)
- An agent-to-customer communication interface, available as web application and mobile app
- A unified support queue combined with flexible and extensible business rules
- An administrative interface to easily configure the system
- Rich analytics
Do.com was a cloud-based task management system for small groups and businesses, introduced in 2011 and discontinued in 2014. Salesforce did not offer any reason for shutting down the service, however it provided an Export tool to save data entered within the Do.com interface. The Do.com domain was sold to a startup in 2014.
Site.com is a portal to the Salesforce Lightning App Builder, a technology that allows for rapid application development of cloud-based applications.
Salesforce Ideas is a suggestion management system, based on Dell IdeaStorm, that enables registered users to add, promote, demote and comment on ideas. Each idea is represented as an article, and such articles are updated by Salesforce to indicate when an idea is implemented.
Launched in 2005, the Salesforce AppExchange is an online application marketplace for third-party applications that run on the Force.com platform. Applications are available for free, as well as yearly or monthly subscription models. Applications available range from integrations with Sharepoint to mobile approval management. As of February 2015, it features 2,658 applications which have driven a total of over 2.8 million installs.
Salesforce users can configure their CRM application. In the system, there are tabs such as "Contacts," "Reports," and "Accounts." Each tab contains associated information. Configuration can be done on each tab by adding user-defined custom fields.
Configuration can also be done at the "platform" level by adding configured applications to a Salesforce instance, that is adding sets of customized / novel tabs for specific vertical- or function-level (Finance, Human Resources, etc.) features.
Sales Performance Accelerator
Salesforce.com launched a new product called Sales Performance Accelerator in July 2013. It combines the CRM with the Work.com performance management application as well as customer lead information from Data.com.
Apex is a proprietary programming language provided by the Force.com platform to developers similar to Java. It is a strongly typed, object-oriented programming language, following a dot-notation and curly-brackets syntax. Apex can be used to execute programmed functions during most processes on the Force.com platform including custom buttons and links, event handlers on record creation, updates or deletions and via the custom controllers of Visualforce pages.
Due to the multitenant nature of the platform the language has strictly imposed governor limitations to guard against any code monopolizing shared resources. Salesforce have provided a series of asynchronous processing methods for Apex to allow developers to produce longer running and more complex apex code.
In 2014, Salesforce revealed a new tool known as the Salesforce Lightning App Builder for rapid application development of responsive web interfaces.
Salesforce.com is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional headquarters in Morges, Switzerland (covering Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Singapore), India (covering Asia Pacific minus Japan), and Tokyo (covering Japan). Other major offices are in Toronto, Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Dublin, Hyderabad, San Mateo, California and Hillsboro, Oregon. Salesforce.com has its services translated into 16 different languages and as of July 31, 2011, had 104,000 customers and over 2,100,000 subscribers.
Standard & Poor's included Salesforce.com, at the same time as Fastenal, into the S&P 500 index in September 2008, following the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their removal from the index.
Venture capital fund
The company announced in September 2014 that it had set up a venture capital arm to fund start-ups creating apps primarily for mobile phones.
Salesforce.com migrated to Dell servers with AMD processors running Linux from Sun Fire E25K servers with SPARC processors running Solaris in 2008. The company uses the Momentum platform from Message Systems to allow its customers to send large amounts of email without encountering deliverability problems.
In 2013, Salesforce.com and Oracle announced a 9-year partnership in which Salesforce.com will use Oracle Linux, Oracle Exadata, Oracle Database, and the Java platform to power salesforce.com's applications and SaaS platform.
The Salesforce.com Foundation donates 1% of the company's resources (defined as profit, equity and employee time) to support organizations that are working to "make the world a better place." It was officially launched at an event featuring former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in 2000, less than a year after the company’s formation. Salesforce provides a full-featured ten-seat user license available to nearly all United States 501c3 non-profit organizations or overseas equivalents. Additional licenses are deeply discounted for public interest groups. As of March 2014, the Salesforce.com Foundation has donated 580,000+ volunteer hours, supports 20,000+ higher education & non-profit customers, and $53+ million in grants.
Salesforce provide Force.com Developers with a support community, known as DeveloperForce. As well as providing official Forums, free published workbooks, a specific Stack Exchange, the IRC channel #salesforce connect, and Influitive advocacy program, Salesforce support over 100 Developer User Groups around the world, with more than 16,000 members (as of September 2014), anyone can attend their local user group to meet fellow developers, take part in challenges and widen their Force.com developer network and skills.
There is also a group of elected Salesforce and Force.com "Most Valued Professionals" (MVPs). These are non-Salesforce-employee members of the community who stand out for their contribution to the platform and community, assisting and engaging other Force.com developers, answering questions, and writing Wikipedia articles. MVPs are nominated and elected three times a year in line with the platform updates. There are currently around 142 total MVPs for Salesforce, with 32 of them being Force.com MVPs from the developer arena.
In November 2007, a successful phishing attack on a saleforce.com employee compromised contact information on a number of salesforce.com customers, which was then used to send highly targeted phishing emails. The phishing breach was cited as an example of why the CRM industry needs greater security for users against such threats as spam.
Several criticisms of Force.com's integrated development environment and developer friendliness have been made, including lack of support for multiple developers, speed problems with developing on the cloud, and a failure to properly separate Salesforce.com from Force.com. The platform has been described[by whom?] as having potential but currently only appropriate for Salesforce.com customers who want to extend Salesforce, not for independent developers who want to use Force.com as a standalone platform.
While the crowd-sourced method of building business contacts has proven popular with recruiters, marketers and sales professionals, it has also raised questions of privacy as most of the site’s database is entered without permission from the person being listed. Data.com does, however, make it easy to remove business information on request as noted in December 2009 by TechCrunch. However, recipients of these messages regard it as spam and at least one complaint about receiving more spam after attempting to remove one's address have been noted.
The following is a list of acquisitions by salesforce.com:
- Sendia (April 2006) – now Salesforce Classic
- Kieden (August 2006) – now Salesforce for Google AdWords
- Kenlet (January 2007) – original product CrispyNews used at Salesforce IdeaExchange and Dell IdeaStorm – now relaunched as Salesforce Ideas
- Koral (March 2007) – now Salesforce Content
- Instranet (August 2008) for $31.5 million – now re-branded to Salesforce Knowledge
- GroupSwim (December 2009) – now part of Salesforce Chatter
- Informavores (December 2009) – now re-branded to Visual Workflow
- Jigsaw Data Corp. (April 2010), – now known as Data.com
- Sitemasher (June 2010) – now known as Site.com
- Navajo Security (August 2011)
- Activa Live Chat (September 2010) – now known as Salesforce Live Agent
- Heroku (December 2010)
- Etacts (December 2010)
- Dimdim (January 2011)
- Manymoon (February 2011) – now known as Do.com
- Radian6 (March 2011)
- Assistly (September 21, 2011) – now known as Desk.com
- Model Metrics (November 2011)
- Rypple (December 2011) – now known as Work.com
- Stypi (May 2012)
- Buddy Media (May 2012) for US$689 million
- ChoicePass (June 2012)
- Thinkfuse (June 2012)
- BlueTail (July 2012) – now part of Data.com
- GoInstant (July 2012) for US$70 million
- Prior Knowledge (December 2012)
- EntropySoft (February 2013) for an undisclosed sum. The French firm was founded in 2005 and sold software to improve interoperability between big-name ECM systems, used to manage unstructured data, such as documents and email, often required for compliance or e-discovery.
- clipboard.com (May 2013) for US$12 million
- ExactTarget (announced June 4, 2013) for US$2.5 billion
- EdgeSpring (June 7, 2013) - now part of the Analytics Cloud
- RelateIQ (July 10, 2014) for US$390 million 
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- The biggest email provider you've never heard of
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