CONFERENCE REPORT

Benioff Foresees New Clouds on the Horizon

Salesforce.com has added 50 new features to Force.com, which it will roll out on Wednesday, company chairman and CEO Marc Benioff said.

Dreamforce 2010

Dreamforce 2010

He disclosed the information during his keynote speech opening the Dreamforce 2010 conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center Tuesday.

Benioff also described what he sees as a tidal wave of change that’s sweeping through the Internet.

“There’s a huge, unbelievable change going on in our industry, from Cloud One, where we were interested in easy-to-use and cheap and fast-growing to mobile,” he told his audience.

“There are 500 million users on Facebook, hundreds of millions on Twitter,” he said. “That’s the change to mobility, the change to how we’re using the Internet, the change from Cloud One to Cloud Two. The old Internet itself is dying off, and the Internet’s rebirthing itself, changing itself with social networking and video.”

Salesforce.com is preparing to make that leap to mobile, enabling its apps for mobile devices, Benioff stated.

The Old Order Changeth

To illustrate his point, Benioff held up an Apple iPad.

“This computer wasn’t even around the last time we held Dreamforce last year,” he said. “Now, it’s selling a million a month.”

The industry has changed, moving from Cloud 1 in 2000, when Salesforce was launched, to Cloud 2 this year, where it’s all about feeds and push technology and touchscreens, Benioff stated.

“We in the industry have to pay attention to what’s going on in the consumer community because that’s where things are happening,” Benioff suggested.

Salesforce.com now focuses integrating social networking features and capabilities into its apps.

“Today in 2010, I’m no longer asking myself why we are building software that doesn’t look like Amazon,” Benioff said. “The question I ask is, why aren’t we building software that looks like Facebook? If half a billion people are going on Facebook, isn’t that something we should pay attention to? Users are getting trained in a whole new way of computing, and they’re voting with their feet, they’re voting with their wallets.”

Salesforce.com will focus on six main fields for this new generation of Internet, Benioff said.

These are the sales cloud, the service cloud, the Chatter collaboration app, the Jigsaw data cloud, the Force.com platform cloud and Database.com, the database cloud the company announced on Tuesday.

New App Announcements

Attention to what the customer’s doing led Salesforce.com to develop its “Chatter” tool two years ago, Benioff said.

He then announced Chatter 3. This includes features for sales, marketing, service, finance, human relations, operations, IT, legal and professional services, among others.

Chatter 3 is available for US$15 per user per month, but users with other paid Salesforce apps such as Sales Cloud or Force.com get it free. It lets companies provide all their employees access to the app automatically from its console.

“Mostly, inside our customers, we are a point solution in sales and service and marketing,” Benioff said. “Being enterprise-wide is something we’ve aspired to but haven’t been able to execute. That’s why we’re announcing Chatter 3.”

Further, Salesforce will introduce a new service, Chatter.com, for mobile devices in February, Benioff announced. This “is 100 percent viral” and can be upgraded to other versions or Chatter or used as a standalone. Chatter.com users don’t have to be Salesforce customers, Benioff said.

Going Into Cloud 2

Meanwhile, Salesforce is revamping its apps for Cloud 2, which focuses on collaboration.

For example, Sales Cloud 2 now has drag-and-drop editing. This lets users collaborate and chatter about metrics in real time through the Sales Executive dashboard, which Salesforce released recently.

Salesforce also announced the acquisition of Activa Live, which “blends the Web and customer service experiences,” Alex Dayon, the company’s executive vice president of CRM applications, announced.

This acquisition will beef up Salesforce’s Service cloud, Dayon said.

Service Cloud 2 lets users see when problems crop up with customers in real time, said Kraig Swensrud, senior vice president of product marketing at Salesforce. It also lets companies post fixes to customer problems on Twitter.

“Twitter is one of the fastest growing networks, and here’s why it matters,” Swensrud said. “Your customers are Twittering, and it’s completely transparent and open. With Service Cloud 2, you can see on the console all the Tweets you’re monitoring in real time and can automatically route the Tweets throughout your company, and a case is automatically created for each Tweet.”

Benioff also announced Database.com, its database in the cloud. This is fully open and runs on all platforms, accepts code in all major languages, automatically scales up, has a high level of security, lets developers create apps of all sizes and incorporates a pre-built social data model.

“Finally, Salesforce.com puts a more functional database out there for developers,” Al Hilwa, a program director at IDC, told CRM Buyer.

Dabase.com will probably be used for new apps written for the cloud rather than for running legacy on-premises apps, Hilwa said. For now, it will not impact existing enterprise databases, such as IBM’s DB2 or Oracle.

“This is part of Salesforce.com’s effort to fill in its platform infrastructure,” Hilwa pointed out. “Microsoft has had SQL Azure for some time, for example, so in some respects, this is catch-up.”

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