2009 was a banner year for Salesforce .com. The enterprise cloud computing company made significant enhancements to its product lineup, reported overall strong earnings, and even launched their own take on realtime enterprise social networking and collaboration, Chatter. Today, Salesforce is launching one of its first product enhancements for 2010: the Force.com Visual Process Manager.
Force.com, company’s platform to build and deploy enterprise applications, will now allows companies to design and deploy business processes inside their apps without having to build the applications on other software. Customers can visually design any complex business process with a design tool and instantly run it in the cloud without writing a single line of code. The technology powering the Visual Process Manager is based on technology acquired from Informavores, call scripting startup Salesforce bought last year.
The Manager has several different components. The Process Designer essentially helps businesses sketch out applications with established set forms, questions, and choices, and logic components, like task assignments, decision trees, and approval processes. These components can be dragged and dropped into a visual process design diagram/ The Process Wizard Builder enables companies to design a “wizard” to help walk end-users, step-by-step, through their business process. The Process Simulator lets customers test out and review processes before they are deployed. And lastly, the real-time process engine will run all of a company’s sophisticated processes and provides realtime scalability.
For example, if an insurance company wanted to create a step by step business application for sales representatives to follow in order to create a price quote for insurance packages, the administrator could visually map out every question and step the sales reps need to take and then simple create an application that would automate these processes.
Prior to the inclusion of the Visual Process Manager, companies would have to build applications off of separate platforms, including on-premise software, hardware and infrastructure, to automate processes. The bonus to the Visual process Manager is that it integrates seamlessly into all of Salesforce’s applications. The Process Manager will be available to Enterprise and Unlimited Edition Force.com subscribers for $50 per user per month.
The company recently rolled out Force.com Sites, which lets companies build and run their applications for internal use as well as for public use on Salesforce.com cloud computing platform. And Salesforce also opened up an additional distribution channel off of Force.com: the Value-Added Reseller (VAR) program
While the opening up of the Visual Process Manager pales in comparison to the scale of launching Salesforce Chatter, both products represent Salesforce’s rapid pace of innovation. It should be interesting to see what 2010 brings for Salesforce; the company just raised $500 million, which we all expect will be uses towards a few acquisitions.