.com and Google Apps both offer business software as a service, and now the companies are joining forces. Starting today, a new product called Salesforce for Google Apps will provide an integration of the enterprise-oriented application suites.
The collaboration makes Google Apps available for all salesforce.com customers at no added cost. Salesforce is also reselling the premier edition of Google Apps.
Google's Scott McMullan and Maureen Bradford wrote today on the Official Google Enterprise Blog that the new product focuses on customer needs for tighter teamwork, increased efficiency, faster communication, and simpler coordination.
Both companies noted that Salesforce users can now avoid version control or e-mail attachments by using Google Docs inside of Salesforce. This allows, for instance, for a proposal to be created without leaving Salesforce. "No more e-mailing attachments or worrying about different versions floating around," Salesforce said.
Customer communications and correspondence with other team members can be handled within Salesforce as well, using Gmail. On its Web site, Salesforce said productivity would be improved by being able to send messages to contacts from inside Salesforce or to log e-mails in Salesforce with Gmail.
Google Talk can also be used for instant messaging and for archiving communications during sales calls or when reviewing customer relationship management data. Meetings can also be synchronized by using Google Calendars. And a combined Salesforce and Google Start Page allows a user to see all their information and tools in one view.
'More Valuable to Google'
A Google-made video highlights the advantages that each company's products bring to the collaboration. Salesforce "is a centralized place to manage all your customer information," the video says. "But the problem has been that many of the tools you use in the sales process have been in different places." Time is wasted, the video continued, because the tools are not working together, "but those days are over."
The collaboration is certainly "interesting," said Merle Sandler, an analyst with industry research firm IDC.
Sandler added that the deal was "more valuable to Google" than to Salesforce because "people are not going to get Salesforce" because of this joint product. She said this integration might propel some small and midsized businesses to take a closer look at Google Apps, although it could be useful for those companies who already use Salesforce.
In recent months, Google has been aggressively releasing new ways to use Apps as it turns up the heat in its competition with Microsoft and others. In February, for instance, it released a team edition of Google Apps that allows employees to set up work groups within their company's domain and without the involvement of an IT department.
It has also recently released Google Calendar Sync, for synchronizing a Google Calendar with information maintained in Outlook Calendar.