Top company by employee – 19 – salesforce.com – California US
Industry: Information Technology
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
Previous rank: 27
2011 revenue ($ millions): $2,266
What makes it so great?
Free yoga classes, 48 hours of paid time to volunteer, a $100 monthly wellness benefit, iPhone reimbursement, and a quarterly companywide forum hosted by founder Marc Benioff help explain the enthusiasm at this cloud computing pioneer.
San Francisco, CA
|Traded as||NYSE: CRM
S&P 500 Component
San Francisco, California, USA
|Key people||Marc Benioff
(Chairman & CEO)
(Exec. VP of Technology)
Social enterprise solutions
|Revenue||$3.05 billion (2013)|
|Net income||$-0.270 billion (2013)|
Salesforce.com Inc. is a global cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Though best known for itscustomer relationship management (CRM) product, Salesforce has also expanded into the “social enterprise arena" through acquisitions. It is currently ranked the most innovative company in America by Forbes magazine, as well as number 19 in Fortunemagazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2013.
The company was founded in March 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez as a company specializing in software as a service (SaaS). Harris, Moellenhoff and Dominguez, three software developers previously at Clarify, wrote the initial sales automation software.
In June 2004, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol CRM, raising US$110 million. Marc Benioff and Magdalena Yesil were the initial basic connection investors and board members. Other early investors include Larry Ellison, Halsey Minor, Stewart Henderson, Mark Iscaro, and Igor Sill of Geneva Venture Partners.
The following is a list of acquisitions by salesforce.com:
- Sendia (April 2006) – now Force.com Mobile
- Kieden (August 2006) – now Salesforce for Google AdWords
- Kenlet (January 2007) – original product CrispyNews used at Salesforce IdeaExchange and Dell IdeaStorm – now relaunched as Salesforce Ideas
- Koral (March 2007) – now Salesforce Content
- Instranet (August 2008) – now re-branded to Salesforce Knowledge
- GroupSwim (December 2009) – now part of Salesforce Chatter
- Informavores (December 2009) – now re-branded to Visual Workflow
- Jigsaw Data Corp. (April 2010), – now known as Data.com
- Sitemasher (June 2010) – now known as Site.com
- Navajo Security (August 2011)
- Activa Live Chat (September 2010) – now known as Salesforce Live Agent
- Heroku (December 2010)
- Etacts (December 2010)
- Dimdim (January 2011)
- Manymoon (February 2011) – now known as Do.com
- Radian6 (March 2011)
- Assistly (September 21, 2011) – now known as Desk.com
- Model Metrics (November 2011)
- Rypple (December 2011) – now known as Work.com
- Stypi (May 2012)
- Buddy Media (May 2012) for US$689 million
- ChoicePass (June 2012)
- Thinkfuse (June 2012)
- BlueTail (July 2012) – now part of Data.com
- GoInstant (July 2012) for US$70 million 
- EntropySoft (February 2013) for an undisclosed sum. The French firm was founded in 2005 and sold software to improve interoperability between big-name ECM systems, used to manage unstructured data, such as documents and email, often required for compliance or e-discovery.
- clipboard.com (May 2013) for US$12 million 
- ExactTarget (announced June 4, 2013) for US$2.5 billion
- EdgeSpring (June 7, 2013)
Salesforce.com is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional headquarters in Morges, Switzerland (covering Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Singapore), India (covering Asia Pacific minus Japan), and Tokyo (covering Japan). Other major offices are in Toronto, New York, London, Sydney, Dublin, Hyderabad, San Mateo, California and Portland, Oregon. Salesforce.com has its services translated into 16 different languages and as of July 31, 2011, had 104,000 customers and over 2,100,000 subscribers.
Standard & Poor’s included Salesforce.com, at the same time as Fastenal, into the S&P 500 index in September 2008, following the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their removal from the index. Salesforce.com was recognized as one of Fortune‘s 100 best companies to work for in 2013 at rank #19, up from 27th spot in 2012 and 52nd in 2011.
IT Infrastructure and operations
In 2013, Salesforce.com and Oracle announced a 9-year partnership in which Salesforce.com will use Oracle Linux, Oracle Exadata, Oracle Database, and the Java platform to power salesforce.com’s applications and SaaS platform.
In November 2007, a successful phishing attack compromised contact information on a number of salesforce.com customers, which was then used to send highly targeted phishing emails to salesforce.com users. The phishing breach was cited as an example of why the CRM industry needs greater security for users against such threats as spam.
The Salesforce.com Foundation donates 1% of the company’s resources (defined as profit, equity and employee time) to support organizations that are working to “make the world a better place." It was officially launched at an event featuring former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in 2000, less than a year after the company’s formation. Salesforce provides a full-featured ten-seat user license available to nearly all United States 501c3 non-profit organizations or overseas equivalents. Additional licenses are deeply discounted for public interest groups. Salesforce.com employs support personnel specific to their (mostly non-paying) non-profit users. Buying a comparable Salesforce.com license commercially would cost around $15,000 a year.
Products and services
Customer relationship management
Salesforce.com’s customer relationship management (CRM) service is broken down into several broad categories: Sales Cloud,Service Cloud, Data Cloud (including Jigsaw), Collaboration Cloud (including Chatter) and Custom Cloud (including Force.com).
The Sales Cloud
The Sales Cloud includes a real-time sales collaborative tool called Chatter, provides sales representatives with a customer profile and account history, allows the user to manage marketing campaign spending and performance across a variety of channels from a single application, tracks opportunity-related data including milestones, decision makers, customer communications, and other information unique to the company’s sales process. Automatic email reminders can be scheduled to keep teams up to date.
Other activities on the Salesforce cloud include using the Jigsaw business data to access business contacts, and designing and automating processes in Salesforce CRM.
The Service Cloud
The Service Cloud provides companies with a call center-like view that enables them to create and track cases coming in, and automatically route and escalate what’s important. The Salesforce CRM-powered customer portal provides customers the ability to track their own cases, includes a social networking plug-in that enables the user to join the conversation about their company on social networking websites, provides analytical tools and other services including email, chat, Google search, and access to customers’ entitlement and contracts.
Salesforce.com’s platform as a service (PaaS) product is known as Force.com. The Force.com platform allows external developers to create add-on applications that integrate into the main salesforce.com application and are hosted on salesforce.com’s infrastructure.
Work.com, previously Rypple, is a social performance management platform. It is marketed as a solution for sales performance, customer service, marketing, and as a service that can be employed by human resource departments for broad use across an organization. Work.com service facilitates collaboration and shared contribution to individual, team, and organizational goals, and facilitates the exchange of feedback anonymously and publicly between peers and managers. Rypple was acquired by salesforce.com in 2011 and was re-branded as Work.com in September 2012.
Launched in 2005, AppExchange is a marketplace for cloud computing Web application built for the Salesforce.com community and delivered by partners or by third-party developers, which users can purchase and add to their Salesforce.com environment. As of April 2012, there are over 1,400 applications available from over 450 independent software vendors. All salesforce.com partners can distribute applications and solutions on AppExchange. Applications created on the Force.com platform are installed by Salesforce.com customers.
Salesforce users can configure their CRM application. In the system, there are tabs such as “Contacts," “Reports," and “Accounts." Each tab contains associated information. For example, “Contacts" has standard fields like First Name, Last Name, and Email. Configuration can be done on each tab by adding user-defined custom fields.
Configuration can also be done at the “platform" level by adding configured applications to a Salesforce instance, that is adding sets of customized / novel tabs for specific vertical- or function-level (Finance, Human Resources, etc.) features.
Sales Performance Accelerator
Salesforce.com is launching a new product called Sales Performance Accelerator.[when?] It combines the CRM with the Work.com performance management application as well as customer lead information from Data.com.
Individuals who work with Salesforce.com can get certified in 4 main certification paths:
- Advisor – Administrators and Advanced Administrators
- Developers – Customizer and Advanced Customizer
- Implementation Experts – Sales Cloud Consultants and Service Cloud Consultants
- Architects – Technical Architects
- Instructors – Admin Essentials for New Admins, Admin Essentials for Exp’d Admins, Building Apps with Force.com, Apex & Visualforce Controllers, Intro to OOP with Force.com Code, Integrating with Force.com and Implementation Essentials.
In order to obtain Implementation Experts and Architects certifications the Administrators and Developers certifications are prerequisites, respectively.