Salesforce reveals mobile first platform, wants to connect ‘internet of things’ to CRM

Cloud sales, marketing and customer service platform will tomorrow announce the next generation of its offering with a mobile-first platform that includes a unified mobile app for users and an expanded library of programming interfaces to connect customer databases with internet-connected products.

The announced upgrade includes the availability of 10 times the previous number of application program interfaces (APIs), expanding the potential external services and devices that can connect to Salesforce.

For Salesforce users, the new mobile app means services such as campaign dashboards, social insights and internal communications are unified in an app that can be accessed on any device.

Investments that companies have made in custom applications as well as CRM and partner apps from the Salesforce AppExchange are available in the unified mobile app, bridging them with Salesforce’s products and third-party apps such as iOS Calendars, Gmail, Dropbox, Evernote, Kenandy and LinkedIn. Effectively, employees  can access up-to-date business-critical information from any device.

Developers are also able to build more advanced social and mobile apps for employees, products and customers. Apps that create personalised experiences, by connecting things like smartphones or wearable smart devices to customer information, can be built on Salesforce1 more quickly compared to legacy platforms.

The company is spruiking the potential for this ‘internet of things’ to transform marketing and customer service. By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected things, according to Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, and Salesforce is readying its platform to handle data being sent from, for example, a car’s on-board computer to the manufacturer and/or dealer’s CRM. In the other direction, personalised messaging can be sent to the customer’s car (or fridge or camera or video game console), an expansion of Salesforce’s capabilities made possible by its recent acquisition of marketing automation platform ExactTarget.

Salesforce1 is an automatic upgrade to existing licensees of Salesforce CRM and Salesforce Platform and is available immediately as a native app for iOS and Android users and as a web app. There is also a dedicated app for CRM admins, which the company is claiming as a world first.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff will officially unveil Salesforce1 in tomorrow morning’s keynote (US time) at Dreamforce, the company’s annual customer conference in San Francisco.


Disclosure: The author attended Dreamforce as a guest of Salesforce.