by CIO Staff

Outages Put in the Doghouse

Feb 01, 20063 mins
Web Development

Several perturbed customers have taken to blogs to express their frustrations with the company’s recent series of outages, CNET reports.

The most recent outage took place on Monday, and it reportedly made portions of the website unavailable for hours.  An anonymous critic has set up GripeForce, a blog “for frustrated users of”

“This is starting to happen all too often,” the nameless blogger wrote on Monday. “From 10:30 a.m. through lunch, Salesforce was down.  This is too much.  Two days left in the month and the sales team can’t access their data.”

Thousands of businesses use for storage of customer and sales information.  The company is supposed to provide access to this information “on-demand” via the Web.  That’s where the problem comes in.  If the site-or a section of it-goes down, users may not be able to access information.  This means that customers are at’s mercy when it comes to accessing their information.

This point was demonstrated last month when service was disrupted for most of a day.

Much to the chagrin of Mike Sax, a user and entrepreneur from Eugene, Ore., the company’s CEO Marc Benioff downgraded Monday’s episode, calling it a “minor issue.”  Benioff said the incident lasted about half an hour, and some U.S. and Canadian customers may have experienced intermittent disruptions of service.

“As a customer, I am very disappointed by [Benioff’s] statement,” Sax wrote in his blog.  “I am willing to put up with growing pains and an occasional outage.  I am even willing to forgive that in terms of reliability, Saleforce has clearly over-promised and under-delivered.  Having the company’s CEO minimize an outage that brings customer businesses to a halt as a ’minor issue’ is not acceptable.”

Another user, Bill Bither, agreed with Sax.  Monday’s outage disabled one of Bither’s critical application programming interfaces, a system that transfers Salesforce data to other systems, for seven hours.

“We use and have invested a lot of time and money into the system,” wrote Bither in a blog.  Bither is a founder of software producer Atalasoft.  “Although the features and functionality is great, we’re not pleased with the reliability,” he wrote.

After learned of its customers’ misgivings, Spokesman Bruce Francis re-addressed the issue in an e-mail.  “We know that any time that the service is not available, it’s frustrating to our customers, and we sincerely apologize for that,” Francis wrote. “We know that what our customers want is constant improvement in our service, and that’s what we are working on today and every day.” executives say the website is available 99 percent of the time.

-Al Sacco