As you may know – beyond Foretuit’s keen ability to predict whether opportunities will be won, lost, or slip – one of the things people really like about it is the rich interactive visualizations, like Foretuit’s Visual Pipeline view.
So, when we looked at how to make Foretuit run within salesforce.com, we had some tough choices to make about how to do it. So, we surveyed the market to see how other vendors do it. And, frankly, we came across unimpressed for the most part.
They tended to fall into one of two camps:
- Thin wrappers – these vendors take their existing UI and just dump it within the salesforce UI in what’s called an iframe. Unfortunately, the problems with the iframe approach are many. Firstly, it’s not really integrated. Basically, other than being embedded in the page, there is no relationship between this UI and the salesforce.com UI (so you can’t mix-and-match data or components). It’s basically like having a separate browser tab. Secondly, it doesn’t act like a web user experience. You end up seeing things like scrollbars within sub-frames; if you resize the browser the content don’t resize to fit; etc. An additional problem for us is that we wanted to integrate really tightly with Chatter, and this approach wouldn’t let us do it well.
- Native Interfaces – On the other hand there are vendors that have built their UI’s natively in force.com. Force.com is a great platform for building web interfaces quickly, with lots of different components and capabilities. So, there are some great products out there. The downside was that most of these vendors didn’t achieve the same level of interactivity or visual richness we were shooting for. So, initially, we weren’t sure how possible it would be to create an immersive experience on Force.com
Frankly, our final result ended up exceeding our expectations. We got the tight chatter integration, and kept all the visual richness and interactivity. We’ll be launching it at Dreamforce ’11 at the end of August.
While you’re waiting for Dreamforce, check out a video demo of Foretuit in Salesforce.