Salesforce.com gets into ERP with Infor, Workday

The companies will release joint products, and Salesforce.com has also made an investment in Infor

Salesforce.com is strengthening its hand in the ERP (enterprise resource planning) market, announcing on Thursday two new partnerships with Infor and Workday that will result in an intermingling of the companies' applications and technologies.

In addition, Salesforce.com has made an investment in privately held Infor, which is the industry's third-largest ERP vendor after SAP and Oracle. The announcements were made during Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.

Salesforce.com has studiously avoided any public indications it wants to build a full ERP suite on its own.

But the partnerships announced Thursday demonstrate that it recognizes the lucrative cross-selling and bundling opportunities between its own growing array of CRM (customer relationship management), social collaboration and application development software. They also build on Salesforce.com's initial stab at a subset of ERP, FinancialForce.com, where it partnered with Unit 4 Agresso on a cloud-based financials application.

Infor is planning to roll out three applications built with Salesforce.com's Force.com development platform under the marketing header of "InForce." The first, InForce Everywhere, will enable Salesforce.com CRM users to view information from Infor ERP applications, such as transactions and customer data.

A second planned application, InForce Order Management, will provide "comprehensive quote, order and proposal management" capabilities. The third, InForce Marketing, is a marketing automation application.

The latter two products will also be integrated with Salesforce.com. InForce Everywhere is scheduled for release this year, while InForce Marketing and Order Management are planned to be available sometime in 2012, said Dean Hager, executive vice president of marketing and strategy at Infor.

Force.com has lived up to Salesforce.com's hype as a rapid way to develop viable software, according to Hager. "To turn [InForce Everywhere] around within a calendar year with all the proper testing is a nice achievement."

The software will be sold under a user-based model, via subscription. Pricing was not disclosed.

All three applications are enabled by Infor's own ION integration software, which serves as a middleman between Salesforce.com and the ERP systems, Hager said.

While Infor is also going to resell Salesforce.com CRM, its plans won't have an impact on its existing CRM software, which is run on-premises and not the cloud, he said.

Hager declined to provide specifics of Salesforce.com's investment in Infor. Salesforce.com also recently invested in Kenandy, a startup developing a cloud-based manufacturing ERP system.

Also Thursday, Workday and Salesforce.com announced plans to combine data from Workday's SaaS (software-as-a-service) system with Salesforce.com's Chatter social application as well as Force.com, allowing customers to create custom applications that tap Workday information.

The Chatter integration will allow customers to access various business processes, such as a vacation approval request, within Chatter, as well as collaborate on broader topics such as payroll and budgeting, the companies said.

Workday plans to release the Chatter integration later this year, with the Force.com functionality arriving "on a date to be announced."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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