I just got off the horn with David Bradshaw, principle analyst at Ovum, an analyst firm headquartered in London with offices around the world. Ovum specializes in the software, IT and telcom space.
David was briefed by the powers that be and shared some comments with me on today's global alliance announcement between Google and Salesforce.com.
David explained that the excitement is mixed with a higher degree of anticipation because of the relative position of the two companies in the global marketplace. "The predominent company in the consumer space (though Google is by no means only a consumer company) is linking up with the predominant company in the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) space," he said.
"Two strong forces in their separate domains are linking up and aligning themselves together and generating new stuff out of that. A higher view of that is moving lives, the way people work, further online and away from on-premises-type software. The truth of it is, the current state of affairs is very much governed by on-premises, on your computer. And this deal seeks to change that."
David made some additional comments on the first product announcement made by the alliance:
The first fruits of this alliance is an 'edition' of salesforce.com called 'Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google Adwords' (SGEFGA?) that enables its users to make use of keyword ads in Google. From within salesforce, you can bid for keywords in Google and set your budget. Salesforce will automatically generate the HTML for a 'landing page' on your website, so that when a prospective customer arrives on the landing page, it asks them for their details and automatically generates a sales lead in salesforce.com. Additionally, you can track the results for each keyword you have bought in Google via a new dashboard (one of three dashboards added in SGEFGA). This capability comes from Keiden, a company that salesforce bought last year.
SGEFGA replaces salesforce's Team Edition (normal price is $995 per year for five users). All existing Team Edition users gained the functionality in SGEFGA from this morning. The normal price is $1,200/year (UK and European prices have not been set yet), but there is an initial promotional price for new users of $600 per year, including a $50 Adwords promotional credit. Users of Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited editions of salesforce can get the same functionality for free from the AppExchange.