Yesterday (Thursday April 5th) I attended a nicely done seminar/reception at the Westin Buckhead by There must have been several hundred attendees at the 1:30pm keynote which provided a good overview of Salesforce, APEX, and AppExchange. After the keynote there were several breakout sessions; one for beginning/potential customers, one for experienced customers, and another for developers focused on the new on-demand (SaaS) APEX language. I attended the APEX seminar for 2.5 hours where I received a good introduction to Salesforce customization and programming techniques. Salesforce is like many of the new Web 2.0 companies offering a unique and innovative value proposition to customers and partners. It is more of a platform where many types of applications can be created by development partners and then offered to customers via AppExchange, an “eBay like” space for selling/exchanging applications. Of course most of the applications are functional extensions of Salesforce CRM or are complimentary to CRM in some fashion. But they don’t have to be. Since Salesforce offers a free developer account I have signed up and plan on trying my hand at creating an APEX application. I predict Salesforce could potentially dominate the CRM market, and apparently so do many large corporations such as DuPont, Cisco, Panasonic, Avis, and United Way just to name a few Salesforce customers.

All attendees received two books, “Salesforce for Dummies” and “AppExchange for Dummies.” And the reception with open bar and lots of munchies (butterfly shrimp, crab cakes, steak on a stick, etc.) was super nice.

Thanks Salesforce!

Integrated Innovation – a Microsoft Partner Event

Several times per year I try to attend local Microsoft partner events. Yesterday (Wednesday April 4th) I attended an event sponsored by Microsoft partners Thoughtbridge, Omnivue, and CustomerEffective called Integrated Innovation. It was basically a high level overview of Microsoft CRM, Great Plains, and MOSS (Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server) focused on integration of the three products. Highlights of the luncheon was the lunch itself, held at Ruth Chris Steakhouse in Buckhead. Even though I had the salmon not steak the meal was awesome with creamed spinach and au gratin potatoes and some kind of chocolate mousse desert that was out of this world (not to mention huge). I also met some interesting new people (technology executives) as the seating was very cozy (elbow to elbow). Attending the event was worth the time as there are always things to be learned. Even if the core material is high level I still gain value from seeing how these events are organized and presented. Good to know when I host my own events here at Georgia Tech.