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What Every Smart Company will soon have…

Salesforce.com IdeaExchangeThe tone on this blog has been rather negative lately, I admit, but I generally rant about the things that bother me not about those that don’t. :-)  

However, I really do have to give Salesforce.com credit for this one: IdeaExchange is one incredibly great idea (pun intended), and every smart company either will or soon should do the same.

I’ve been meaning to blog about this since they first released it but Mark Mangano’s post over at SalesforceWatch.com just reminded me to get off my duff and write about it.  By the way, another company now doing the same that Mark didn’t mention is Yahoo Suggestions.

Now if Salesforce.com will just listen to those submitted ideas… ;-)

They’ll Nickel & Dime you to Death

One of my biggest complaints with Salesforce.com is how they seem focused on ways to nickel and dime their customers. I was just reading one of their help files[1] and found the following example (emphasis mine.):

Salesforce.com recommends that all customers back-up their salesforce.com data. All customers are advised to perform a weekly export. An export should be generated prior to any data project performed by an organization via the import wizards or DataLoader imports, updates, or deletions).

A weekly export service is available to customers, and is outlined below.

The weekly export service allows organizations to export a complete set of their Salesforce data, including all attachments, for archival purposes. A system administrator can request a data export once every seven (7) days. The salesforce.com service will automatically extract the organization’s data into compressed .csv data files and send an email confirmation to the administrator requesting the export.

The email will contain a web address to a secure page, from which the administrator can download the series of compressed data files.

To request a data export, follow the steps listed below.

1. Click on:

Setup | Administration Setup | Data Management | Data Export.

2. Select the "Include attachments" check box (if desired).

3. Select any data that you would like to include by checking the box next to the name of the object. Selecting the "Include all data" box will include data from all tables.

4. Click the "Data Export" button.

A confirmation email will be sent when the export has completed, with a link to the export files, as mentioned above.

The weekly export service is available for all Enterprise Edition customers, and is included in your license fees.

The weekly export service is available to Professional Edition customers as an add-on service, for $50/month.

To purchase this feature, please contact your salesforce.com sales representative, call us at 1-800-NO SOFTWARE, or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Now isn’t it a little arrogant and self-serving to require customers to pay extra for data backup when the loss of their data will typically be because of Saleforce.com’s failure to protect the data, not their own?

Oh well, just another case of Salesforce.com nickeling and diming their customers…

  1. I would have linked to it, but the URL won’t work unless you are logged in to my account. Grrr.

New Rules for the New Economy

New Rules for the New Economy by Kevin KellyThis is my favorite business book:

New Rules for the New Economy

Published in 1998, based on an article of the same name authored by founding executive editor of Wired Magazine Kevin Kelley in the September 1997 issue. It is out of print but IMO it shouldn’t be. But you can still buy used copies on Amazon. As of this writing there are 117 with a lowest price of US$0.21. 

If Marc Benioff has not read it, he needs to get a copy and read it. As a matter of fact, anyone who currently runs a business or who wants to run a business should read this book. It is not an easy book to digest, but the insights it provides are numerous and invaluable.

The (Un)wisdom of Wall Street

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while, but I kept getting side-tracked and never got around to it.  To date, every blog post I have made has been critical of Salesforce.com. Even my reason for starting the blog was to be critical, and no I’ve not blogged about that yet but it is coming, I promise.

My goal for this blog was to offer constructive criticism, but to date that constructive criticism has been pretty harsh…

Chart of Salesforce.com Stock Price (Symbol='CRM')
Anyway, this blog post is actually in praise of Salesforce.com for the special offer of 50% their Team Edition and how that unforunately had Wall Street go off on a tissy.  That offer saw Salesforce.com loose as much as 8% of their share price, all because of skittish  investors with short-term thinking! The sad thing is that adding subscribers is one of the key things an annuity-based business really needs to do and it is incredible short-sighted of Wall Street not to see that.

But then Wall Street is for the most part short sighted by definition, is it not?  Is it not a shame that the only real mechanism we have for allowing large companies to exist is one whose very nature punishes them for taking necessesary steps for long term health if those same steps cause short term pain?  But I do digress…

Back to Salesforce.com.  It wasn’t until Tom Stefano of SalesBoom.com made his comments on my prior post that I was reminded to  comment on this topic.  Thanks Tom for reminding me (although I don’t think Tom would have preferred for his comments to lead me to praising SalesForce.com :-)

So kudos to Salesforce.com for lowering your entry-level price, if at least for a while. They got a least one addition five (5) seat customer because of it; I signed up a Team Edition account for use with one of my projects. I would have preferred to have just used one Enterprise account, but it was cheaper to have one Professional account with three seats (two of which I don’t currently use, ahem) and one Team account with five seats than a single Enterprise account with five seats.  But that begs other issues, which I will definitely be addressing in future blog posts.