SAN FRANCISCO: Former president of Oracle and current chief executive of enterprise software developer Infor, Charles Phillips, joined Salesforce chief Marc Benioff on the Dreamforce stage today to announce InForce, a set of applications that will let customers bring ERP data into Salesforce.
Dreamforce is Salesforce's annual customer event, and is where the customer relationship management (CRM) firm's rivalry with Oracle has been clearly on display in previous years. However, while Phillips and Benioff were fierce competitors in the past, they told the crowds that today they are close partners.
Since Phillips joined Infor at the end of last year, the two firms have been working on a global marketing automation and order management system, which sits on the Salesforce Force.com platform and integrates with Salesforce CRM.
"We have been working in the same industry for 15 years and now we are finally on stage together," said Phillips in his keynote.
Phillips said Infor had decided to team up with Salesforce because its customers were showing increasing interest in the cloud.
"We have conservative customers but they are slowly moving to the cloud," he said. "Five years ago it was a no go, but now people are showing interest and the buzz is seeping down. We now have one million subscribers to the cloud."
Three InForce applications have been built on the Force.com platform, including Order Management, Marketing and CRM Epiphany.
The firms said the applications are bringing the power of the back office to the front office.
"We will render all that back-end content inside Salesforce so it will look like it is part of Salesforce," said Phillips.
In related news, Salesfoce also announced ISV partnerships and integrations with Concur, Workday and Kenandy, which will offer customers social versions of popular ERP applications in the cloud.
Analysts attending the Dreamforce event said the ISV partnerships were among the more significant announcements Salesforce has made at Dreamforce this year.
Gartner analyst Chris Pang said the partnerships are allowing Salesforce to move from being a CRM provider to a more general enterprise resource planning (ERP) provider.
"It's an evolutionary change rather than revolutionary but very interesting," said Pang.
Meanwhile, Forrester analyst Stefan Ried said the partnerships showed "exciting synergies".
"It's applying a social Facebook style of communication to the same old business problems, like to Infor's financial management system."
Salesforce revealed that it had seen ISV channel orders increase year-over-year by 210 per cent and a 25 percent year-over-year increase in ISV partner growth.
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