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Salesforce update includes mashup tools

Hosted CRM company introduces a new framework for linking analysis tools to its applications. Image: Salesforce dashboard

Salesforce previewed an update to its online service on Wednesday and said it is making it easier to customize its online business software.

The company said its Winter '07 release, due later this year, will let users customize analytical tools through mashups that combine Salesforce tools with custom-developed components and those from other companies.

Salesforce dashboard

In effect, the new feature allows people to custom-build the analytical dashboard that gives them an insight into sales performance and other benchmarks, drawn from data stored in their application.

The company said its dashboard framework, for integrating tools into's applications, will be included in Winter '07.

Such mashups are increasingly common on public Web sites such as Google and Yahoo and are just starting to make their way onto internal business systems. "They really set the stage for the opportunity we have today...Google and Yahoo and eBay--they did the heavy lifting," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said Wednesday at a conference in London. said that software maker Business Objects will enable its Crystal Xcelsius, a tool used to create presentations, to work with's dashboard framework. Other partner companies are expected to follow suit, said Ariel Kelman, director of product marketing at Salesforce. Kelman said the company hopes the dashboard framework will spur developers and partners to build new components that can be shared among Salesforce customers via the company's AppExchange online marketplace.

Salesforce sells hosted customer relationship management applications. The company, which competes with Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and others, is attempting to broaden its reach within subscriber companies by offering more customized services. contributed to this report.