At their annual Dreamforce event in San Francisco this week, Salesforce.com announced its latest features and offerings available in the Winter '12 release of its SaaS CRM product. While there was a good deal of talk around the "Social Enterprise" and their Twitter-like Chatter product (announced in 2009), the new product offerings announced are primarily geared around the data that is at the foundation of an organization's CRM system.
So why the focus on data? Now that there is a broad base of customers that have been using Salesforce CRM for years, the demands from these customers do not appear to be around new CRM-related features, but rather the data requirements that exist at the very core of CRM.
Early in the CRM system discovery process customers can get excited by slick product functionality. Yet, as these CRM systems are put to use and optimized, its the data and data-related issues that ultimately come to the forefront of an organization's needs.
For example, announcements included:
- Database.com, an "Enterprise Cloud" database available over the Web has now reached general availability with the capability of creating "deep social profiles".
- a "Data Residency Option" is now available within Database.com, allowing critical and/or sensitive data to be stored somewhere else other than Salesforce.com's data centers (perhaps a response to Larry Ellison's data security critiques of Salesforce?).
- Data.com is a new service announced that allows company and prospect data such as that available from Jigsaw (acquired last year by Salesforce.com) and Dun & Bradstreet to be pulled into a company or contact record.
In other words, after listening to customer feedback, Salesforce has recognized how critical data assets are to the success of a CRM implementation. This should be an indicator to anyone implementing CRM, from Salesforce.com or anywhere else, how important a focus on the data itself must be for success. Look for more data-oriented solutions to come out of Salesforce.com and its partners, including continuing enhancements to data quality solutions for Salesforce like StrikeIron provides.
CRM success is heavily dependent on the accuracy and comprehensiveness of data within the CRM system. Incomplete or inaccurately collected data can significantly impact CRM ROI if account reps have to spend a lot of their time tracking down correct information about a prospect or chasing down prospects who are difficult to find or no longer employed by the organization being pursued.
StrikeIron has several applications available on the AppExchange that are natively integrated to Salesforce.com using the Force.com Cloud platform. These solutions can go a long way in helping an organization greatly improve the quality and completeness of the contact data that exists within their Salesforce.com data, making it easy an natural part of the data collection process.
You can find out more about these solutions here: http://crm.strikeiron.com/Home/Live-Data-for-Salesforce-CRM.aspx
In addition to the ability to validate and correct mailing addresses both in the US and Canada as well as 200 other countries, verify email addresses, and check phone numbers for Do Not Call list compliance, our solutions provide custom mapping capabilities to ensure that the data returned from each verification call ends up in the correct field within your customized Salesforce.com application. The application simply hits our data center with contact record data, validates it, and then brings back any additional enhanced data about that contact that goes straight into the account or contact record. This integration, including the custom field mapping, is a big selling point of the solution.
Here are a couple basic screen shots showing how to utilize the mapping capabilities:
(Mapping data from Salesforce.com that will always be validated by StrikeIron)
(Mapping data from StrikeIron back to fields, including custom fields within Salesforce.com)
Also, if you want to see these solutions in action and how they provide for a solid foundation of clean, accurate, and complete data within Salesforce.com, visit us at our booth at DreamForce next week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
StrikeIron is going to be sending a large contingent of team members out to the Salesforce.com Dreamforce event December 6th-9th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It is being billed by Salesforce as the "Cloud Computing Event of the Year".
We will be showcasing our native Force.com applications, where we have seamlessly integrated several of our data verification offerings into the Salesforce.com CRM platform, including address verification, email verification, and the Do Not Call list (checking in real-time for outbound compliance).
We also will be showing our Informatica Cloud Contact Record Verification plug-in, where data being loaded into Salesforce.com from various sources can be validated and enhanced as it is being loaded into the system (daily lead loads for example). This can provide for dramatically better data quality within Salesforce, which is often cited as the #1 problem with CRM ROI.
And then of course we have several other data-as-a-service and data verification offerings that are easy to integrate into any application. While the underlying technology for cloud-based name, address, email, and telephone verification is the same, there are of course many cases where you would want to do this outside of Salesforce, but still to the benefit of CRM and other applications.
We will have engineering (including our CTO), marketing, and business development folks (including myself) available for anyone who wants to explore our technology, asks questions, and discuss partnership opportunities.
We hope to see you there!