For all the tension that frequently exists between the folks who manage IT and the salespeople who rely on Salesforce.com, the reality of the situation is that Salesforce.com isn't going away. There are simply too many salespeople that have become so deeply attached to the application that they literally can't manage without it.
As those salespeople move from organization to organization, they tend to bring that dependency along with them, which contributes heavily to the viral adoption of Salesforce.com. Once you accept that reality, the question then becomes how to actually leverage Salesforce.com to better achieve the goals of the business. Given the fact that there are so many salespeople and assistants versed in the Salesforce.com platform, perhaps the next natural thing to do is to find ways to extend Salesforce.com.
That's pretty much the thinking that went into the development of Cloud Extend for Salesforce from Active Endpoints, the provider of an ActiveVOS business process management (BPM) engine. According to Active Endpoints CEO Mark Taber, a whole cadre of "citizen developers" has grown up around Salesforce.com. Many of these people are really business analysts who need tools to extend the graphical user interface of the Salesforce.com environment out to encompass any number of related business processes.
Taber says Cloud Extend for Salesforce can be deployed in the cloud as a multi-tenant extension to Salesforce.com using the AppExchange cloud computing platform from Salesforce.com to give end users the ability to manipulate actual business processes with no intervention from IT required.
Some IT people will, of course, have issues with that notion, while others will applaud it. The more end users can do for themselves on their own, the fewer headaches they create for the IT department. In either case, the reality is that Salesforce.com has become a platform that, like any other, needs to be maximized with or without the help of internal IT.