Salesforce has unveiled two new services for its enterprise cloud platform. Salesforce Identity will provide "Facebook-like identity for the enterprise," and the Touch Platform will allow companies to write applications once, and then deploy them to multiple types of devices.
The two new services, announced at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference taking place in San Francisco, will bring to nine the major services available on the Salesforce platform. The others are Force.com, Heroku, Site.com, Database.com, Chatter, Chatter Communities, and AppExchange.
'More of a Necessity'
Salesforce said that Identity addresses the explosion of enterprise apps and multiple devices, which has made managing access, identity, and security more difficult for IT, and more cumbersome for users juggling multiple log-ons.
To deal with this many-nations situation, Identity provides a social identity solution that Salesforce compares to Facebook's single sign-on to sites that support its framework. Identity offers single sign-on that can be pre-integrated across apps, so multiple apps can be utilized without multiple user names, passwords and log-ons.
By using Identity with Chatter, the company said, apps across multiple platforms can push information to users in a single feed. For IT administrators, Identity provides centralized identity and access management , as well as central management of apps and users.
Charles King, an analyst with industry research firm Pund-IT, said there has been a recognition in the last 12 to 18 months that single sign-on, once considered a nice-to-have in businesses, is becoming "more of a necessity" because of the "multiplicity of apps, devices and work scenarios."
Other Platform Enhancements
He noted that some vendors, such as VMware, are choosing to address this problem through the creation of a "virtualized shell" that is deployed to any device, so that "anything can run on anything" through the shell.
Touch addresses another multiplicity headache -- developing custom apps that need to run on many devices in the enterprise. Touch provides tools for custom mobile apps to be written once and then deployed to any device, Salesforce said. It supports native apps, HTML5, and, so that mobile apps can connect to enterprise data , mobile-friendly APIs.
Salesforce said that these tools in Touch enable any Web developer to be a mobile developer and to incorporate enterprise-grade features, such as secure offline storage and OAuth 2.0 authentication. Touch also provides for the ability to readily access native device features, such as camera capabilities.
Along with the launch of Identity and Touch, Salesforce announced several new features to existing platform services. Canvas in Force.com will now allow any app to run inside the Salesforce user interface, with unified identity, access to records and collaboration through Chatter.
Heroku Enterprise for Java now offers a path to more quickly build and run Java apps in the cloud, and Chatter offers optimized RESTful APIs for embedding Chatter into apps. There are new features in Chatter Communities for private social communities, including branded communities and the ability to use APIs to integrate Chatter into business processes.
AppExchange Checkout now provides turnkey billing, renewals, and expiration reminders, Database.com's new geo-location field enables the development of location-aware mobile apps, and Site.com offers faster ways to build sites.