SalesForce does a great job managing your customer information. It is easy to customize and use, and you do not have to worry or pay millions of dollars to maintain the software or hardware.
The valuable information locked in SalesForce may be required by a host of other applications in your enterprise like Order/Inventory Management, Finance/Accounting, Web Analytics, etc. For example, when a sales opportunity closes in SaleForce, ideally an invoice would be created automatically in your accounting/financial software, without someone having to re-key the information. Or, when a new user registers on your website, you would like the information to automatically populate SalesForce as a lead.
SalesForce has done a good job with its API. However, end users still have to either write their own code, which means muddling with web services (Java/.NET) code, or they must invest in an integration solution from proprietary vendors, which could mean writing more code.
Mule has a simpler solution to this approach. The SFDC transport for Mule solves this integration problem without dealing with WSDLs or investing in proprietary software. It offers easy connectivity to SalesForce and allows both read and write operations such as Query and Update/Upserts. Using the SFDC transport with other Mule transports such as JDBC, JMS, Servlet, and EJB, end users can build complex workflows spanning various applications both within the enterprise and in the cloud (SFDC, NetSuite, Google Apps, etc.).
The SFDC transport is in Alpha mode and will be available for Beta download early next month. In the meantime, I would love to hear your SalesForce integration use case. Ping me if there is a feature you would like to see included in the SFDC transport.