Enterprise application development with traditional software has always been too complex, too slow, and too expensive. A new model called cloud computing has emerged over the last decade to address these problems. Applications that run in the “cloud” are delivered as a service so companies don’t have to buy and maintain hardware and software to run them—or huge IT teams to manage and maintain complicated deployments.
Salesforce.com pioneered cloud computing with our comprehensive CRM application suite. More recently, we’ve opened up our infrastructure so everyone can use it for custom application development. With salesforce.com’s Force.com cloud platform, you can build any business application and run it on our servers.
Just as cloud-based Salesforce CRM has become the leading CRM solution, the application development world is beating a path to the Force.com platform and its unlimited power to innovate. Force.com is revolutionizing custom application development, making it possible to quickly create robust, enterprise-class solutions for almost any business need.
The old way: application-building that’s slow and inefficient. Over the years, the traditional way of creating and running business applications has become overly complex and cumbersome. There are too many moving parts to buy, install, configure, and maintain—including hardware and software. Plus, the entire infrastructure requires constant maintenance to keep it working smoothly.
This overhead burden creates barriers to productivity in custom application development. Computing environment complexity means that every little change can trigger repercussions throughout the organization. That setup significantly reduces overall IT responsiveness, impairing the ability of a company to address constantly changing business needs. Instead, enterprise application development proceeds at a glacial pace, with long backlogs a fact of life. The end result is that business managers don’t get the applications they need to run their business. Instead, they end up with a welter of unintegrated, homegrown systems on spreadsheets, personal databases, or other unsupported platforms.
The new deal: application development productivity in the cloud. Enter cloud computing and salesforce.com’s Force.com platform. Cloud computing is easy to understand: Application development takes place—and all applications run—entirely on the Web. All you need to access them is a Web browser.
With just an Internet connection, your developers gain access to an application development environment with all the tools and resources they need. This way, they can develop complete enterprise applications without the cost and complexity of buying and maintaining an on-premises development infrastructure.
IT that delivers more business value. Equally important is the impact of Force.com on the responsiveness of your IT systems. Developers can be instantly added anywhere in the world, with full access to application development resources. And they can quickly build and instantly deploy solutions, reducing application development cycle time, speeding the response to user requests, and delivering the IT agility required to take advantage of fast-breaking business opportunities.
Force.com offers an extremely powerful, scalable, and secure platform for application development. It delivers a complete technology stack covering the ground from database and security to workflow and user interface—so you can focus on assembling, building, and instantly deploying solutions. As a result, custom application development is possible without the headaches and expense of buying, configuring, and managing development hardware and software.
Unlike separately designed hardware and software products, Force.com speeds innovation through a powerful yet easy-to-use application development and deployment model. You can easily develop and then immediately deploy your solutions to the Force.com cloud-based infrastructure.
Force.com lets you implement business logic with workflow rules, approval processes, and custom code. You can store structured data, support Web browsers and mobile devices, integrate with other applications, do reporting and analytics, and scale up or down—all with the sub-second response time, high availability, and security you need to run your business applications.
Custom Application Development: Build and Run Your Entire Business in the Cloud
The Force.com platform is the fastest path to complex enterprise application development. What used to take months can now be done in days or weeks. Companies and ISVs are using Force.com to build applications across the entire spectrum of business functions and industries: supply chain management, billing, audit, tax calculation, event management, compliance tracking, brand management, pricing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, billing, HR, payment processing, employee on-boarding, claims processing, and much more.
There are more than 100,000 custom applications running on Force.com, and the platform supports more than 150 million transactions per day.
Traditional custom application development platforms supply only the core services of database access and containers for logic and presentation. You need other software to create your entire application as well as additional components to run the data center that supports the platform.
Of course, more components mean additional expenditure for acquisition, maintenance, and integration. With Force.com, you get a full enterprise application development stack—including a complete user interface to your data, comprehensive reporting and analytic capabilities, a flexible security and sharing model, and workflow and approvals. All this functionality is available and integrated from the outset. You can even leverage extended features such as built-in internationalization, full support for mobile devices, and integration with existing systems.
You access Force.com through a Web browser: development and deployment both take place in the cloud. The platform itself provides everything you need for robust enterprise application development through a combination of clicks, components, and code. This unique blend makes developers much more productive: Application capabilities come from simple declarations of attributes through pre-built capabilities and extend to a fully flexible application development environment.
With clicks alone, Force.com lets you include rich functionality in all your applications. You can define your data structures and relationships, expose user interfaces to interact with this data, extend internal data with logical representations, and define workflow actions and approval processes. It’s simply a matter of shaping the built-in capabilities of the platform to your needs by setting the values of attributes.
Another application development advantage: The entire Force.com reporting and analytics system is automatically built into all your applications. This integrated functionality lets you mine your data store for additional value.