Customization to drive next Salesforce release

Customization will be the primary focus of the next release of's hosted CRM application due out in the fourth quarter of this year. is starting to provide some details about the next version of its hosted CRM (customer relationship management) software, including the product's primary focus, which will be customization.

Known as Salesforce Winter '07, the upcoming release will become generally available in the fourth quarter of this year, said Wednesday.

The vendor plans to launch a Web site -- -- Thursday to invite user feedback on the Winter '07 version. The idea is to foster a closer working relationship between Salesforce users and the vendor's developers, Marc Benioff, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, wrote in an e-mail.

Winter '07 will feature a new user interface based on Ajax or asynchronous JavaScript and extensible markup language, a group of software development tools and standards that help create interactive Web applications. Users will be have the ability to customize the CRM application's desktop console and components. Other new features include a hook-in to Cisco Systems's computer telephony integration option and full support for IBM's Lotus Notes collaboration software.'s on-demand CRM is available in different versions targeting a variety of users including its Personal, Team, Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited Editions.

The vendor's last major CRM version, Summer '06, debuted in July along with a connector for its Enterprise and Unlimited Editions integrating its software with SAP AG's R/3 ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications. competes with a variety of players in the hosted midmarket applications arena including SAP, Oracle and NetSuite.

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