Three software companies have formed what they call the first organized forum for businesses built natively on the Salesforce1 CRM Platform.
Apttus, Kenandy and ServiceMax have formed Force United, which is designed to help companies by leveraging the Salesforce1 Platform.
The companies want to promote Salesforce1 as a "force for being more creative with software across all industries, while also learning how software can promote goodness."
As part of their vision, they’re also announcing an annual invite-only CIO Innovators Summit on July 16 in Menlo Park, Calif.
CMSWire talked to Stacey Epstein, chief marketing officer for ServiceMax, about the Salesforce-based union.
Nicastro: Is this partnership product-based as well as education-based? Will there be a combined platform offering between the three software companies or just the summit/educational initiatives?
Epstein: The partnership is both product-based and education-based. Already co-founders and heads of product from the three founding companies have had deep technical conversations to discuss ways they can leverage the technology to increase scalability. Since all companies are governed under the same limits, discussion and collaboration enables optimization.
There are also several opportunities to educate the customer-base. CIOs and business leaders are well aware of the benefits of the cloud, but many don’t think about the value of having multiple applications across the business on one platform.
One platform means shared objects, common UI, one data model, easy integration. So imagine your CRM is Salesforce, and your field service is ServiceMax, and ERP is Kenandy and quote-to-cash is from Apttus. Imagine how advantageous it would be for IT and the business to have all those solutions on one platform.
Nicastro: Why would three competing software companies combine forces?
Epstein: Think of it like a user group. ServiceMax, Apttus and Kenandy offer solutions to different areas of the business, but within the same global organizations and to the same IT departments. The combined knowledge and experience can be shared amongst the members to drive better solutions. And the end value to the customer of a best-of-breed solution, yet on the same platform, is a powerful joint value proposition. What began as a casual conversation became a more formalized monthly meeting, and a public desire to share our knowledge with the larger community.
Nicastro: What makes this kind of partnership unique in the industry?
Epstein: Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is still a relatively new concept for many in the industry. Salesforce is one of the largest companies in the world with thousands of customers. This is the first community formed specifically for natively-built Salesforce1 businesses, and the first of its kind for the industry. We’re proud to be a part of the founding.
Nicastro: Ultimately, who benefits from this in an organization, and how so?
Epstein: CIOs, the entire IT department, the business as a whole, and even the end-user will benefit. Having all applications be best-of-breed solutions on one integrated, cloud-based platform will cut costs, increase productivity and simplicity, thereby improving the business model, and pleasing the end-user.
Nicastro: Beyond the initial announcement and summer conference, what are the next steps?
Epstein: The next step will be to grow the organization. There is strength in numbers, and we may share our collective concerns and desires with Salesforce, to improve the platform as a whole. An executive board of native partners can contribute and improve the product.
Nicastro: What is the wow factor of the Salesforce1 platform?
Epstein: Salesforce1 is the world’s premiere CRM platform. The wow factor here is that the Salesforce1 kids have grown up and gone off to college. They don’t need Mom and Dad to further their mission. Salesforce is truly a platform company now. By purposefully launching the consortium outside Salesforce, Force United can independently promote how advantageous the all-in-one platform is for ISVs. With one data model, it is easy to migrate to the cloud and go mobile.