Monday, September 12, 2005

OneSource Launches Enhanced Integration via Salesforce.com's AppExchange

Salesforce.com is renowned for its progressive "no software" packaging of sales force automation tools and has for some time encouraged integration of professional-grade content and applications into their on-demand SFA environment. But with today's launch of Salesforce.com's AppExchange at their DreamForce conference in San Francisco they are taking the installation and purchasing of applications and content in the SF.com environment to a new level of simplicity and object-oriented integration. Organized like a typical application sharing service, complete with user review and rankings, with a click here and there you can have software and services integrated into your SF.com service and payment added to your SF.com tab. We could gab on about the software aspects of this if that were our mission, but with OneSource Information Services on board as one of the charter members of this program it's important to focus on its importance to business content providers first and foremost. OneSource has made its business information available via SF.com for some time, but with AppExchange OneSource is announcing an integration of their content that is far more intuitive and simple with administrative features that make it easy for companies to specify exactly which content goes where and which can be updated by whom with point-and-click ease. The scope of this first effort is somewhat limited - basically sales lead downloads into the SF.com product platform, with integrated links back to OneSource for more chunky content such as detailed business profiles, key executive contacts, financials, corporate family structures, analysts' reports and company news - but the net effect is quite powerful in its ease of use and ultra-simple integration. Best of all (from the purchaser's perspective) the cost appears as a line item on your SF.com bill, starting at $50 a month for a low-end package with a specific geographic region of coverage. Since distribution is via the SF.com platform access management for off-platform content is quite simple, no need for federated logins, etc.

For professionally-oriented content this on-demand solutions packaging is exactly what many enterprises are crying for, a platform that keeps the software required to provide content-oriented business solutions at arm's length from I.T. costs and offers them access to content vendors that can integrate into that platform without having to resort to being locked into content vendor "X"'s view of what works best from a workflow perspective. It also sets the stage for object-oriented solutions of many kinds that can have content built into them and exposed on either a subscription or on-demand basis to fit many different kinds of usage contexts in an integrated online portal product. Content vendors of all stripes should sit up and take note of this development with eyes wide open, for this is the likely future for many kinds of business content as enterprises become used to point-and-click downloads of content services that fit into a wide variety of portal environments with simplified administration and access management.
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