Salesforce update to CRM service springs forward

Spring '07, an update to its core on-demand customer relationship management software, is expected to be unveiled Monday.

Seasons move swiftly at Salesforce.com.

The company is expected to unveil Spring '07 on Monday, an update to its core on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) software. The update comes less than two months after Salesforce.com released its last core upgrade with Winter '07.

One of the key features of Spring '07 will be Appspace, which is designed to allow users to share content and ideas and collaborate on a Web page, much like an enterprise version of MySpace, said Kendall Collins, senior vice president of corporate and product marketing for Salesforce. Appspace aims to allow users to add applications to the space, as well as share documents and combine the technology to create new uses via "mashups," hybrid software that combines content from more than one source.

Next month, Salesforce plans to offer a limited release of Appspace, charging a monthly fee of $995 per 200 users to log in to the service. General availability of Appspace may come later this year, depending on the reception from Salesforce's subset of users, Collins said.

Spring '07 will also feature customizable search and a new workflow engine, designed to allow executives to issue approvals whether or not they are logged in to the Salesforce service.

These changes come as Microsoft ramps up its own on-demand enterprise CRM offering. Last summer, Microsoft announced plans to launch a hosted CRM service under its Live brand.

Collins, however, said using the Internet to deliver applications is not in Microsoft's "DNA," but he applauded the software giant's move into on-demand applications.

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