Publish date:

Salesforce to Walk on Wall Street

A data offering aims at old-school Bloomberg terminals.

(CRM) - Get, inc. Report

, the cheeky software-on-demand pioneer, helped send

Siebel Systems

to that great recycling bin in the sky.

Now the company is going after Bloomberg, whose proprietary terminals clutter the desks of many Wall Street traders and financial advisers.

Salesforce is set to launch a service for investment advisers that will allow them to integrate real-time market and financial data with client information. The first big customer win is

Merrill Lynch


, which has signed up for a 25,000-seat subscription.

Salesforce's new wealth management edition was developed with the cooperation of


(DELL) - Get Dell Technologies Inc Class C Report


Cisco Systems

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

TheStreet Recommends

on the hardware side, and

Dow Jones


and Thomson Financial on the content side. Coincidentally or not, both Dell and Cisco recently became 15,000-seat customers.

The new software runs $500 a seat per month, though it's likely that given the volume, Merrill paid significantly less.

Bloomberg has made a fortune supplying financial data via an expensive, proprietary computer system. The Salesforce system, says Salesforce Senior Vice President Kendall Collins, is open, meaning that it will work with a variety of hardware and content providers -- not just Dow and Thomson, both of which charge for their service. "The day of the proprietary box is coming to an end," he says.

Despite the feisty rhetoric, Salesforce is really targeting the desks of financial advisers, not traders. Still, that's a rich target -- there are an estimated 500,000 registered advisers and brokers in the U.S.

An adviser who uses the new service could mouse over the name of a client and instantly see what investment news is relevant, and easily fire off an action alert. The service also tracks the usual customer contact and tracking information built into Salesforce's standard applications.

More important than tweaking the nose of Hizzoner, though, is winning the business of prestigious Merrill Lynch. The financial services industry has become one of the most fertile grounds for software sales;


(ORCL) - Get Oracle Corporation Report

, which eventually acquired Siebel, recently upped its stake in


, the Indian financial services software company, to over 80%, and considers the segment one of its most important markets.

It also helps quiet the skeptics who say Salesforce software isn't robust enough to serve the needs of major enterprises.

In recent trading, shares of Salesforce were off 67 cents, or 1.4%, to $46.77.