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Five questions for Salesforce.com at Dreamforce

Chris Kanaracus | Sept. 18, 2012
Salesforce.com has grown into a company much broader in scope than its name would suggest, having moved well beyond its roots in on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) software.

Zuora seems like more of an acquisition target for Salesforce.com, particularly given the fact that Benioff is an investor in the company.

All in with ERP?

While Salesforce.com's functional footprint has gotten much broader over time, it still isn't much of a direct player in ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, which is ruled by the likes of Oracle and SAP, as well as a wide range of more specialized companies, and is mostly run on-premises.

This year's Dreamforce may be remembered as the time when Salesforce.com first planted a firm stake in the ERP market.

For one, expect to hear a lot about the shape of its partnership with upstart cloud ERP vendor Workday, which like Salesforce.com has positioned itself as a fresh alternative to the status quo.

The partnership "has always been kind of vague," Forrester Research's Martens said. It will be interesting to see whether Salesforce.com decides to link up closely with Workday on its financials module, as well as the more-established HCM (human capital management) software for which it's mostly known, she added.

There's also the likes of Kenandy, a fairly new ERP startup focused on manufacturing and supply chain, which was built on top of Force.com.

Coupled with Salesforce.com's partnerships with larger ERP vendors such as Infor, "suddenly you're starting to have something that looks like a best-of-breed business suite," Martens said.

That scenario in turn presents a single-sign on and identity management problem, which is just the sort of problem Salesforce.com Identity would take on.

 

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