SaaS (software as a service) is entering the mainstream and smaller businesses want help navigating the choices available to them, Felice said. Dell's goal isn't to build a marketplace that gives them a menu of choices for the same task. It will steer them towards what it thinks is the "best of breed" product.
"As a trusted advisor, we believe we're supposed to have a point of view," Felice said.
Boomi can connect to most of the popular packaged applications used by SMBs, through 72 software "connectors," Dell said. It won't do "custom engagements" for customers with specific application needs, Felice said, but Boomi is extensible, so an SMB could hire a third party, such as a systems integrator, to link Dell's services to a legacy application, he said.
The services are targeted initially at companies with 100 into 500 employees, Altmaier said, but Dell expects to serve both larger and smaller customers over time. Its definition of mid-size runs up to companies with about 5,000 employees.
It's Dell's second major cloud announcement in as many days, as it tries to expand beyond PCs and into the more profitable software and service markets. On Monday, Dell said it would offer a cloud infrastructure service later this year, targeted at large and midsize enterprises.
Package pricing for the CRM service, including Salesforce.com and the Boomi integration, starts at $565 per month, Dell said. Implementation service packages start at $5,000, it said.
Dell acquired Boomi, which makes software for integrating cloud-based applications, late last year for an undisclosed sum.