Force.com alternatives

Force.com
Force.com is the proven cloud platform to automate and extend your business and deliver the social enterprise. Force.com is an extremely powerful, scalable and secure cloud platform, delivering a complete technology stack covering the ground from database and security to workflow and user interface. Build the social, mobile apps you need to power your Social Enterprise.
Here are the latest news about Force.com:

2014 Salesforce ahead of Microsoft and Google on the Enterprise PaaS market


Analytical company Gartner published the new Magic Quadrant for aPaaS providers. What is aPaaS? It's the PaaS platform for Enterprise. I.e. these are cloud services for building and running business applications (but not games and social things). So, the first place on this market (with the big advantage) is taken by Salesforce with its platforms Force.com (now called Salesforce1 Platform) and Heroku. The second place goes to ... Microsoft with its Windows Azure. And the third place is occupied by Google with its Google App Engine. Other participants are crowded behind these three giants. Surprising is the absence of Amazon, which equipped its platform with PaaS tools for simple hosting of business applications.



2013 Salesforce launches Private AppExchange - the own App Store for your company



Usually Salesforce unveils a bunch of new products and news at the November Dreamforce event, but this year they decided to start beforehand. Over the last couple of weeks, they have already launched the single sign-on service Salesforce Identity, announced the death of Do.com and few days ago - released Private AppExchange - the private app store that any company can create for its employees. And, in this store company can "sell" employees not just mobile apps, but also web-based services and desktop apps. It can contain both privately-built applications and third-party products, taken from the public AppExchange. At first glance, it look like a useful thing only for IT administrator who can create a list of allowed applications, provide app access to certain employees, monitor their usage and pay for all licenses from single place. But it's also suitable for employees. For example, they can write app reviews, discuss app performance with their colleagues and troll the administrator if app doesn't work as it should.

Private AppExchange is integrated with the mentioned above SSO-service Salesforce Identity, so that app installation and launch - is as easy as installing app from Play Market or App Store.

For paid Salesforce Enterprise users this market is free. And for the rest - $5/month per user.



2011 SaaS vendors using third-party PaaS as their own

SuccessFactors Cloud Foundry
An interesting new trend is emerging: SaaS vendors start to use third-party PaaS services as platforms for their own clients and partners. Let's first consider the ordinary situation. For example, there was such SaaS provider as Salesforce. And it provided the online CRM system. The system was growing but the customers wanted more and more new features. Then Salesforce management thought: "we can't implement so many features, and it's not right to make the system too complicated. Let's better create a (PaaS) platform, and let our customers and partners create add-on apps and functions themselves. That's how Force.com appeared. And many others SaaS vendors headed the same way: Google, NetSuite, Intuit, Box.net ... But not all SaaS-providers are so mighty to create own PaaS platform. Or maybe creating own PaaS-platform - is not the smartest option. Why not use one of the existing PaaS-services, such as Force.com?

That's what Workday, Infor and Concur decided to do last summer. They created SDK and interfaces for Force.com and offered their customers and partners to build applications on Force.com and use the data inside their systems. And a few days ago another SaaS-giant SuccessFactors (which is the champion in SaaS-implementation size) has partnered with VMWare to use its PaaS-Platform CloudFoundry.



2011 Ellison to Benioff: That's your Cloud is False Cloud

Salesforce vs Oracle
A year ago at Oracle's OpenWorld conference the Salesforce CEO, Mark Benioff, took the stage to criticize Oracle's cloud technologies. He said that clouds can't be sold in metalic boxes, and in fact - these are false cloud, and everyone should beware of them. And thought the Oracle's boss, Larry Ellison, joked back then, but the offense remained in his mind. This year, he decided to revenge. First, he unexpectedly canceled the scheduled and paid Benioff's session at the OpenWorld. Of course, this didn't scare Benioff - he immediately organized the alternative session in the restaurant across the street. And, of course, the main topic of his speech was Oracle's false cloud, and near the restaurant people were walking with banners "The Cloud Must Go On".



But it was only the first round. The next day, Larry Ellison introduced the Oracle Public Cloud - the cloud service that is a direct competitor to Salesforce. It provides PaaS platform and the suite of SaaS applications (including CRM and social network).

Larry Ellison False Cloud
Larry began his speech with: “Famous quote — I’m not sure where I’ve heard it – beware of false Clouds. That is such good advice. I couldn’t have put it better myself.” And then he told that unlike Salesforce's false cloud (which uses proprietary programming language APEX and database), in Oracle Public Cloud - everything is standard-based. Any Oracle-database can be moved to this cloud or back to in-house data-center, and any Java application will work in this cloud. And that unlike Salesforce's unsecure multitenant-model (where a single application serves many clients) in Oracle Public Cloud for each client a separate virtual machine with a separate database is created. And unlike the Salesforce's false cloud, Oracle Public Cloud can be really scaled to the changing load.


Regarding the SaaS applications - these are the legendary Fusion Applications, which had been under development already for six years. In particular, they include CRM system, HRM system and enterprise social network Oracle Public Cloud (which is very similar to Salesforce Chatter).

Oracle Social Network
However, the trick is that the new platform and applications have been shown only on the presentation slides, at the end of the conference (to avoid questions). And it's not clear when they will become available.

And of course you want to know how Marc Benioff reacted to all this. He wrote in his Twitter: "Thank you Larry. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”



2010 Force.com 2 - already 5 PaaS platfroms


At the Dreamforce conference, Salesforce demonstrated one more time that now it's not so interested in CRM (it was mainly a subject for jokes) as in cloud platforms. Following the release of SaaS database Database.com, the company introduced another big Force.com feature - Heroku - the PaaS startup that Salesforce has recently acquired for $ 212 million. Heroku - is a cloud platform for developing and hosting Ruby-applications (Ruby - is a popular framework for developing Web apps, created by 37Signals). Heroku became one of the five PaaS-services included in the new version Force.com 2. And the new structure of the Force.com platform now looks like this:

Force.com 2
Force.com is backed by cloud DBMS Database.com. And developers, depending on their skills and goals, can select one of five options:

- AppForce - platform for rapid app development. It allows to build apps with 80% clicks and 20% code
- Siteforce - platform for creating and managing external websites. It also utilises mainly visual development tools
- VMForce - platform for building Java-based applications. Supports easy migration of existing packaged enterprise apps to the cloud
- Heroku - platform for building Ruby-applications
- ISVforce - platform for SaaS providers, where they can host and manage internet services, sell them at AppExchange marketplace

Recall also that Force.com provides tools for developing and hosting Flash/AIR apps and integration tools for Google Apps.
Force.com 2