Treasury Practice

Problem Solved: Steve Cakebread, Salesforce.com, Inc.

Published: Jun 2006

Salesforce.com, Inc. oversees its global bank accounts and daily financial transactions using Deutsche Bank’s db-direct internet – the Bank’s electronic banking platform. This solution allows Salesforce.com to manage all balances, track cash flows as well as initiate and release transactions. In addition, with db-direct internet, Salesforce.com is able to make payments around the world using just one interface.

Steve Cakebread

CFO

Salesforce.com is the worldwide leader in on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) services. The organisation delivers integrated, customisable CRM applications for companies of all sizes. Headquartered in San Francisco, Salesforce.com operates in 20 countries and employs 1,300 people. It has more than 20,500 customers and approximately 399,000 subscribers globally. In its fiscal year 2006, the company generated $309m in revenue.

Problem…

Internally, Salesforce.com manages and authorises payments company-wide in its existing ERP system. However, according to Steve Cakebread, CFO at Salesforce.com, its own internal processing of payments lacked automation: “We had to enter the payment information into our ERP system and once the payment was approved and processed, a member of our staff would have to log-in to db-direct internet and manually input information to generate a payment.” This meant that the same payment information had to be keyed in by hand twice into two separate systems, not only resulting in overheads, but also leaving lots of room for error.

Salesforce.com needed a solution to reduce the time and operating costs required to process payments. At the same time, the company wanted to automate its global payments processing without necessarily having to resort to the large expense of implementing an EDI messaging capability.

…solved

Cakebread states: “We approached Deutsche Bank as our primary banking service provider and we also did some research on what types of capabilities were available. The options that were put on the table for us had different levels of complexity, cost and user friendliness. Ultimately, we selected a Deutsche Bank-built interface for our ERP system, which is very reliable and simple to implement. It also did not require any extra software or hardware on our side.”

Deutsche Bank designed a piece of software to export language payment files from Salesforce.com’s ERP system into a common separated value (CSV) format. The bank sent two dedicated consultants to oversee the installation of the interface into the ERP system and support the testing of the application.

“The implementation took about a month. Most of that time was spent troubleshooting to ensure that all the ERP system set-ups were in agreement with the Deutsche Bank standards.”

The interfacing of db-direct internet’s global payments processing with the centralised payment initiation in Salesforce.com’s ERP system automated the company-wide payments processing, while maintaining the company’s existing systems.

“We currently do not use EDI messaging, so the fact that Deutsche Bank could provide us with a solution that would be equally reliable and permit us to automate that redundant step of entering the payment information for a second time was very attractive to us. We managed to achieve this efficiency in a fairly inexpensive way and the solution has been working very well. Information is now entered in our ERP system, approved and processed and then automatically uploaded into db-direct internet. All we have to do is just release the payment.”

Deutsche Bank provided Salesforce.com with a scalable solution that allows the straight-through processing of payments globally and thereby saves Salesforce.com valuable time at lower costs. In addition, it leverages the security of db-direct internet and minimises the potential for error by eliminating the manual input of payment information.

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