Now you can try before you buy...says Salesforce.com. Or rather, try before you deploy.
Salesforce.com's forthcoming next version, Winter '06, will introduce the Salesforce Sandbox, a service that the company says will allow customers to create a test environment for trying out new customisations and developing add-on applications. Subscribers to the Salesforce Enterprise Edition will be able to launch a Sandbox system containing a complete copy of their organisation's production Salesforce.com database.
Customers will be able to delete and refresh sandboxes as needed to keep them in sync with any changes or updates made to the production environment. Companies will be able to have all their corporate data and configurations modeled in the sandbox environment, or deploy a configuration-only version that will not include any production data.
It's part of a push to encourage developers to use the AppExchange network announced by Salesforce.com earlier this year. This is also scheduled to go live at the same time as the Winter 06 release. AppExchange allows third party ISVs (independent software vendors) to sell their products as tightly integrated Salesforce.com add-ons. The exchange currently features 85 pre-built applications.
"We're seeing customers beginning to deploy Salesforce.com across the entire enterprise, not just for CRM," said Phil Robinson, Salesforce.com's vice president of global marketing. "Customers are customising and extending Salesforce.com, so they can build other applications that sit alongside it, and also installing applications out of AppExchange."
While AppExchange is intended to encourage a community of Salesforce.com-based third party applications, the company has no plans to allow third parties to host its own applications, as Microsoft and Sage Group currently do.
Salesforce.com’s Winter 06 release is scheduled for late January 2006.