As is being proven by the hundreds of available downloads on the App Exchange, many innovative mashups and the stats about API usage, Salesforce.com is (becoming) equal parts platform and CRM application.
However, their licensing model is CRM application first and platform second. Today, you cannot purchase Salesforce.com licenses to utilize just the platform. Is this coming? What would it include? In my mind, it should include:
- Very Important
- Full access to the user & security components (users, profiles, public groups, field-level security, secure authentication, password generation, etc.)
- Full access to Custom Objects, Custom Tabs, Custom Applications, S-Controls and Get/Share with the App Exchange
- Sharing Rules (role hierarchy, including functionality to setup sharing rules for custom objects)
- API Access
- Ability to brand all system communication (welcome emails, notifications, etc.)
- Somewhat Important
- Activity Management
- Notes & Attachments
- Email Templates
- Sforce Data Loader
The ability to buy this kind of license should be self-service with no need to work through a sales rep. I can envision going to the Salesforce site to sign up for a Platform Edition org (a unique instance of the application), input my information (contact info, billing information, etc.) and I am in. The cost model could be based on user logins and volume (API calls or storage). Perhaps there are cost tiers with maximum thresholds on # of users and/or volume before you auto-move to the next tier. This would make it easier to manage and predict cost. Billing would take place automatically at the end of each month against a credit card or other payment service like Paypal.
If something to this effect is done, it opens Salesforce up to a whole new market. Gone is the limitation of having a CRM license to take advantage of the platform.
I would suspect that something like this is on its way, but I have no evidence to support this. Does anyone know anything about this?