Force.com Platform – Forcing Customers into the Same Old Lock-In Story

I’m in Boston for our CRM Acceleration event…and it’s good to be back on the east coast. Of course, the one time my Phillies play the Red Sox in inter-league play WHILE I’m here – it’s in Philadelphia…sigh…

But looking over the blogosphere in my hotel room I came across an interesting blog post. It is from a (I presume soon to be former) Salesforce.com partner who talks about how the Force.com platform is nothing like the “open” and liberating SaaS platform that Salesforce claims it to be. The author seems to posit that Force.com is not even true SaaS.

But what gets me the most is how Salesforce.com continues to buck the obvious overarching trends towards open systems and apps – even though it claims to be about “open.” But railroading partners and forcing customers into the age old lock-in play is nothing new, and does nothing to aid in large or small businesses’ attempts to create truly interoperable systems.

I was waiting eagerly for Salesforce.com’s checkout capabilities since before I worked for Sugar – and after nearly two years, Salesforce (as noted in the blog post) is only letting users buy what Salesforce calls “native” apps – in essence locking organizations in to their platform at every turn.

Take SugarExchange as a contrast. While most of the applications available integrate instantly out of the box with SugarCRM, they are built on the partner’s own (and mostly open) architectures – SugarCRM is not interested in railroading partners on to any platform. Just something to think about…

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