iPhone applications will enrich open source marketplace

10 Jul 2008

Consumer-type metrics will begin to be applied to the enterprise and business in response to the growing appetite for open source applications on demand, which are driven by the acceptance of software as a service (SaaS) and the introduction of the iPhone software development kit (SDK), the president of Salesforce.com told siliconrepublic.com.

Lindsey Armstrong (pictured), previously EMEA president at Symantec, is currently responsible for pushing European revenues at Salesforce.com to over US$45m, up 77pc on last year.

In particular, trends like the SDK for the Apple iPhone 3G, Armstrong believes, will enrich the ecosystem for business applications that can be sold in applications marketplaces, such as Salesforce.com’s own PlatformForce.com.

“Broadly, we think the proliferation of devices that can be attached to any cloud is a good thing for the software market.

“It speaks towards the consumerisation of the enterprise and business world. Applying consumer-type metrics is something many enterprises have been struggling with.”

Armstrong said the CRM on-demand software company is already well versed in dealing with mobile manufacturers and the company’s VisualForce applications enable businesses to apply Salesforce.com applications to phones and PDAs.

“In some ways, the more crowded the SaaS market is, the better. More applications means more choice and the faster SaaS will become the ecosystem as opposed to a small number of applications from a small number of vendors.”

Armstrong said leading corporate players such as Citicorp, Dell, Deutsche Bank and Barclays Bank are strong proponents of the SaaS movement.

“These customers are doing an infinite number of things with the Salesforce.com applications. The way they use it is easily tailored so that many wouldn’t recognise it as a Salesforce.com application.”

Armstrong said she is starting to see a multitude of small applications being built on Force.com, the company’s service that allows software developers to deliver any software application as a service.

“Allianz in Germany has built an adjacent application to Salesforce.com’s CRM platform on Force.com, while at the other extreme Dell and Starbucks have used the technology to build a forum where people can make their views about a product or the company known and participate in the growth of the company.”

Armstrong said that at present over 800 business applications are available for sale on Salesforce.com’s Appsexchange.com marketplace.

“This has resulted in a market where an infinite number of developers can build products to run on the Salesforce.com platform and this in turn enables them to deliver SaaS products to their customers.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years