As Salesforce.com becomes a more standard option within the pantheon of enterprise application software, IT organizations are increasingly being asked to lead data integration projects anchored around the software-as-a-service application.
Previously, most of those efforts focused primarily around batch-oriented projects that consisted mainly of updating records in the Salesforce application. But as customer relationship management (CRM) applications increasingly become the front end that people use to access back-office applications, the need to update Salesforce.com and associated back-office applications is becoming something that needs to happen in real time.
Salesforce has recently published a book, "Connecting the Cloud: 75 Customer Integration Success Stories with the Force.com Platform," that identifies various approaches to integrating Salesforce.com with other enterprise applications. That capability, which can be delivered via on-premise middleware of various cloud computing services that can be found on Force.com, is going to prove important, because CRM isn't really an application, but the first step in a series of business processes that touch a multitude of enterprise applications.
According to Ariel Kelman, vice president of product platform marketing for Salesforce.com, the ability to integrate data across Salesforce.com and other applications is creating a requirement for the corporate equivalent of Web 2.0 mashups that allow business users to create their own extensions to enterprise applications that increasingly leverage real-time integration.