What SaaS Products Built On Salesforce.Com’s PaaS Have Gained Substantial Traction?

Salesforce’s Platform Strategy

Besides developing its SaaS products, Salesforce is also operating a very healthy PaaS offering. Salesforce opened its platform to third-party developers back in 2005. Since then, it has seen significant growth of its PaaS offering. Today, apps created in the Salesforce Platform are created for mobile and social use. Developers have access to a number of open-source languages, including Ruby, Java, JavaScript, C++, Python, and Node.js. It has simplified the development by providing automatic and custom microservices that help developers manage their processes better and template apps that can be customized in AppExchange to get the customer’s app deployed faster. The services run on Force.com and Heroku.

Salesforce’s PaaS has helped provide the backbone for several start-ups. For instance, Apttus, a leading Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) and contract management vendor has delivered its enterprise-class application natively on the Salesforce platform. Apttus’ Quote-to-Cash solutions benefits from Salesforce’s mobile access, advanced analytics, and the ability to run business in multiple currencies and languages while delivering an intuitive user interface and flexible architecture. What started as a bootstrapped venture in 2006 is today a leading CPQ player with revenues north of $160 million and a valuation of over $1.6 billion. Apttus had raised $404 million overall and was sold last year to private equity player Thoma Bravo for an undisclosed amount. Analysts expect the deal value to be in between $1-$2 billion.

Apttus’s biggest competitor SteelBrick was also built on Force.com. In 2015, Salesforce acquired SteelBrick for an estimated $360 million. Prior to the acquisition, SteelBrick had raised $78 million from investors including IVP, Shasta Ventures, Emergence, and Salesforce Ventures. The SteelBrick acquisition helped Salesforce develop its own CPQ offering to compete with Apttus.

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