By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated May 08, 2012.
Salesforce.com hopes to cozy up with the government with its latest solution: Government Cloud. The customer relations management cloud computing company rolled out its latest product to help government hasten its move to the so-called social era.
As its name suggests, Government Cloud is designed for the unique -- and the social -- needs of government agencies. The customized Software-as-a-Service product will offer dedicated, multi-tenant instances of Salesforce.com's cloud infrastructure. That approach paves the way for U.S. federal, state, and local agencies to deploy the latest social and mobile technologies in compliance with Federal Information Security Management Act requirements.
"The bureaucracy of legacy government IT is preventing agencies from embracing innovative technologies that deliver immediate value," said Vivek Kundra, executive vice president of emerging markets at Salesforce.com. "We must end the era where government spends millions of dollars and waits years for IT projects that never work."
Salesforce.com is making a bold move with its Government Cloud. Certainly, government agencies are not known for strong customer service. But will governments invest in the technology it takes to meet the demands of customers who are increasingly used to social and mobile customer service? That's what we asked Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
"The difficulty with government is the lack of funding right now to make changes. Right now, a lot of the agencies are just treading water," Enderle said. "Having said that, probably the only way government agencies can do deployments right now is through some sort of Software-as-a-Service capability. From that perspective, this solution is well timed."
As Enderle sees it, a social and mobile CRM solution in the government would drive higher citizen satisfaction rates and could streamline customer service. Still, he said, getting the government to implement CRM would be an amazing accomplishment.
AppExchange for Government
Salesforce.com is working to entice governments at all levels by making it simple to deploy Government Cloud and the apps that add value. For example, Government Cloud also includes AppExchange for Government, a new app marketplace for the public sector where government agencies can find, try and deploy cloud apps that meet their needs.
The AppExchange is launching with more than 60 apps selected specifically for government and public sector agencies, such as BasicGov, DocuSign, and SchoolForce. Developers are already lining up to fill the virtual app store shelves.
"AppExchange for Government provides a great opportunity to develop and deliver apps for government with the social, mobile and trusted capabilities of the Salesforce platform," said Michael Togyi, president and CEO of BasicGov Systems, a provider of licensing, permitting and enforcement apps.
Meanwhile, Government Cloud also includes the Salesforce Government Partner Accelerator Program, which will train an army of 1,000 integrators by the end of 2012. Government Cloud is scheduled to be available in the third quarter of calendar year 2012, but AppExchange for Government is ready now.