Oct 18, 2010

Dreamforce 2010 - Top Five Things To Be Excited About

Like most Salesforce.com users, I am pumped for Dreamforce.  Dreamforce is the annual Salesforce.com user and developer conference, and it's being held Dec 6-9 in San Francisco this year.  Why is it in the deadzone between Thanksgiving and Christmas?  Good question...my guess is that with 20,000 expected attendees this was only time that Salesforce.com could reserve the entire Moscone center to host it.

Regardless, of the less than optimal timing, there's plenty to be psyched about at Dreamforce 2010.  After the jump, the top five things I am looking forward to.

Oct 15, 2010

The AppExchange Security Review Process Is An Opaque Mess

As a developer working on the Force.com platform, I've eagerly anticipated submitting my paid application to AppExchange and selling it to customers.  I've recently completed the product, packaged it up as an AppExchange application, and now I'm ready to go right?

Before being listed as a paid app, I need to complete the AppExchange security review process.  This is a relatively new roughly 3 year old process, implemented by Salesforce to prevent malicious applications from entering the AppExchange.  Last fall they started charging $5000 for the review, so it was probably also a profit maker for SFDC, but in spring 2010 they reduced the price to $300 which is obviously much more palatable.

I fill out a questionnaire with obvious risk vector questions (do I load material from servers outside of force.com? do I store user credentials outside of force.com?) and hit submit. Then I get this long-winded, overwritten explanation of how they have put my package through a heuristic threat detector, and a report about everything it found wrong.  And they also say they'll be in touch within 2 days.

So have I failed the review? Can I appeal what the automated heuristics (notorious for false positive results) reported? What happens in 2 days?

How about telling me what I need to do next Salesforce?

(edited 18 Oct 2010 with clarification re: age of process)

Oct 14, 2010

Winter '11 Release Coming Soon!

These awesome videos preview what's coming in Winter Release '11!

Part 1

Part 2

I'm particularly excited about the Chatter features in this release, including Chatter Mobile for iPad!

Welcome to Salesforce CRM Thoughts

I'm a big fan of Salesforce CRM, and the power of CRM systems in general, to superpower the sales and marketing efforts of companies of all sizes.  I'm such a fan, I thought I'd start a blog collecting my thoughts.

One of the big innovations that Salesforce has leveraged for CRM is its delivery of Software as a Service (or SaaS). This means that the functionality of the CRM system runs on Salesforce servers, and is accessed through a web interface...essentially the "software" is provided as a "service" through the Internet, rather than as a product that is installed, run and maintained on a customer's own servers.

Salesforce.com makes a big deal of their "no software" model, and for good reason.  Rather than making a large up-front purchase of CRM software, servers and integration, I can "subscribe" to the Saas product and pay a much smaller monthly fee.  I get the benefits of Salesforce.com operating the servers, maintaining the software, and continually pushing new updates (the next one coming is the Winter '11 Release), without having to pay for my own IT staff or my own servers, and without having to worry about upgrading computers every few years.  Plus, as my sales team grows or shrink, I can scale the number of Salesforce.com licenses up and down, essentially tailoring the solution to fit my needs. This is a HUGE reduction in cost!

Yep, Salesforce.com is basically awesome! Stay tuned for more.