Salesforce.com’s platform to build and deploy enterprise applications, Force.com ,has rolled out a new capability, called Force.com Sites, that lets companies build and run their applications for internal use as well as public use on Salesforce.com cloud computing platform.
Salesforce has been testing this in a pilot program for 85 companies, including the American Red Cross, Crocs, Dell, and Starbucks. Sites were built for these enterprises for e-commerce, recruitment, distribution and inventory management, ticketing and scheduling, Facebook apps and social networking. For example, Starbucks recently launched a volunteer site to engage customers in finding volunteer work off of Force.com Sites. The site, which was only built in 4 weeks, has a database of volunteer opportunities around the country.
Salesforce is also announcing a free edition of Force.com, giving small businesses and entrepreneurs a budget friendly way to use Salesforce’s platform. The company originally announced the Force.com Sites capability last winter, signaling Salesforce’s ambitions to expand Force.com’s cloud into hybrid applications that span both internal enterprise customers and the customers of those applications. Not only is the Sites feature a new business channel, but it’s a way to further Salesforce’s presence in the enterprise (which is already significant). And it’s a way to remain competitive in the fast-growing cloud computing space.