In my previous blog post I touched on the different cloud offerings from Salesforce.com. They do so via Platform as a service (PAAS), which is the driving force behind their cloud applications. Aptly named Force.com, this is the perfect solution/platform for building robust cloud applications on salesforce.com that can be used internally to support the business flow of your organization or can be published in the AppExchange as a package for other users to benefit from.
- Force.com: Everything in Salesforce.com, right from Sales cloud, Service cloud, Data.com etc can be leveraged off the PAAS offering called FORCE.COM. It offers very high customization that no other CRM/ Platform on the cloud offers, with umpteen number of tools and features available out of the box, which are easily customizable by an end user with no programming background. If you opt for a force.com solution, be aware that the CRM functionality does not come built in (but can be created from scratch to mimic the original offering) unless you go all out for the unlimited edition.
Customization of force.com is usually done by two roles: The Administrator and the Developer.
Administrators are responsible for creating security settings and enabling/disabling features in your Salesforce ORG (instance), they also setup Workflows, Business automation approval processes, Sharing rules, Team allocation, Adding users etc and will be responsible for the ORG in general. Needless to say, it is critical to have an experienced Administrator for this role.
Developers on the other hand, are responsible for leveraging the true potential of the platform by writing Apex classes and Triggers. Apex is the proprietary language that force.com platform provides for interaction with its Objects and Metadata. The declarative construction of the application in Salesforce is very stable and reliable but has its limits and constraints. That is where Apex kicks in and bends the platform to yield to the complex business scenarios.
E.g. CRM can handle leads/ contacts, but when your business is in Recruiting or real estate, we’ll need a lot of customization like sending an interview request or an online written test to the candidate or show a layout and customize it, which is not possible through the normal point and click actions of an Administrator. This is when Force.com Apex Classes, Visual force pages, Controllers etc. are written by developers to achieve the functionality.
Force.com Platform also allows you integrate existing applications in your organization and merge it either by reusing existing apps or by writing Custom Web services to interact with your web application. Web services can also be used to pull data relevant to your business like stock quotes of a particular account from yahoo, or the map location of your candidate from Google maps API etc…
The possibilities are endless. Hope this helps shed some light on the Force.com Platform from Salesforce.com.
About the Author
At 22, Shivanath Devinarayanan is Suyati’s youngest software developer. Another hard-core “techie”, Shiv is famous for his encyclopedic knowledge of multiple cuisines (you name it and he knows it!). And that is just the tip of the ice-berg! You want advise on the latest laptops and cell phones? The current fashion trends? Famous restaurants in and around Kerala? Shiv is the person to talk to! You can also mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, his services do not come free of cost!