Customisation to drive next Salesforce release

The next release of the hosted CRM application is due out in Q4

Salesforce.com is starting to provide some details about the next version of its hosted CRM (customer relationship management) software, including the product's primary focus, which will be customisation.

Known as Salesforce Winter '07, the upcoming release will become generally available in the fourth quarter of this year, says Salesforce.com.

The vendor plans to launch a website this week to invite user feedback on the Winter '07 version. The idea is to foster a closer working relationship between Salesforce users and the vendor's developers, says Marc Benioff, the company's chairman and chief executive officer.

Winter '07 will feature a new user interface based on Ajax, or asynchronous JavaScript and extensible markup language, a group of software development tools and standards that help create interactive web applications. Users will have the ability to customise the CRM application's desktop console and components. Other new features include a hook-in to Cisco Systems' computer telephony integration option and full support for IBM's Lotus Notes collaboration software.

Salesforce.com's on-demand CRM is available in different versions targeting a variety of users including its Personal, Team, Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited Editions.

The vendor's last major CRM version, Summer '06, debuted in July along with a connector for its Enterprise and Unlimited Editions integrating its software with SAP AG's R/3 ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications. Salesforce.com competes with a variety of players in the hosted midmarket applications arena including SAP, Oracle and NetSuite.

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