Printer Friendly backs tools for CRM expansion. (In Other News...). plans to out-flank customer relationship management (CRM) rivals by rallying grassroots developers to its hosted service through a series of deals with major ISVs.

The CRM specialist is using web services to expose APIs in its online software to external developers while encouraging programmers to tailor its business suite to enterprise needs using integrated development environments (IDEs) from partners.

The initiative, called sforce and announced, has attracted support from Borland Software, BEA Systems Inc, Microsoft Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc. The vendors will support sforce in their IDEs. believes developers will be encouraged to build extensions to its CRM offering as individuals will be able to use their existing IDE rather than be forced to learn something new.

Adam Grossman, sforce product manager, said this makes it easier to extend compared to CRM offerings from rivals. "Rather than require developers to learn bridging solutions or new languages, developers use the IDE they like and the language they know," Grossman said.

Sforce is also designed to generate new revenue for Sforce-specific, per-user licenses are priced $50 per user, per month including 10 megabytes of storage, plus $1 per megabyte, per month for additional online storage.

The announcement is the first in a two-phase sforce strategy, which the company said is due for completion in the fall. Phase one involved exposing's APIs using XML, Web Services Description Language (WSDL) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). will also rely on partners' IDEs to provide additional characteristics beyond simple web services support. For example, BEA will provide Java controls, used to simplify development of Java web services, in version 8.1 of WebLogic Workshop due later this year while integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio.NET provides access to WinForms.

Phase two of sforce will focus on application presentation, using elements such as customizable tabs so extensions to applications look like a customer's own application., meanwhile, is in talks to provide federated single sign-in and network-based identity to its existing services and sforce using systems based on specifications from the Sun Microsystems Inc-backed Liberty Alliance Project.
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Publication:MarketWatch: CRM
Date:Jun 24, 2003
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