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Salesforce.com: Keeping Its Eye on the Customer Service Software Vision
By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Mr. CRM himself, Paul Greenberg, had an interesting take on Salesforce.com (News - Alert) recently, writing on that “they treat their own vision as more than just marketing fluff. To them it’s a true vision to be realized and to be planned for and executed on.”
As Greenberg says, “their Chief Marketing Officer (or Chief Strategy Officer) at the time (I forget which one he was then) Tien Tzuo, told me at breakfast in Shanghai that salesforce.com wasn’t trying to be just a CRM company, but instead, wanted to be the business web -- the platform upon which all companies ran all their applications.”
Greenberg took in Cloudforce DC 2011, and came away with some strong impressions. The entire piece is worth reading, of course, for Greenberg’s inimitable style if nothing else, but to paraphrase some of his major points:
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff (News - Alert) told the 1,400 people assembled that they were going to talk about the social enterprise. As Greenberg recounted, he basically said look, folks, this is a new message for us and this is the first time we are presenting this message, so your feedback on how we are doing with it would be very important.
As Greenberg noted with wonder, this is “total transparency in the contemporary vernacular. They weren’t only pushing the content of the message a.k.a social enterprise, but were telling the audience that it was what it actually was, a new, somewhat tentative in its presentation, messaging attempt that they’d like the audience to help them tweak.”
Salesforce.com “seemed to be the only company that I knew that was attempting to create a Social CRM suite through acquisition and native development,” Greenberg noted, adding that “they were incorporating the social layers and tying them back to the data in ways that were ultimately consumable and that was a big deal.”
As Greenberg correctly notes, “there is no social enterprise strategy without the cloud.” Benioff harped on the cloud, making what Greenberg sees as an important distinction: “I was concerned that salesforce would muddy their vision by messaging that didn’t clarify the distinction between them and Amazon/Microsoft (News - Alert). Well... to my happy relief and surprise, they made that distinction clear as a bell in public and private conversations. Microsoft Azure and Amazon EC2 are infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers, salesforce.com is a platform as a service (PaaS) provider. They don’t compete with Azure or EC2 nor do they want to.”
There are risks with the company’s approach, yes, but overall, as Greenberg says, “By moving toward the social enterprise as their rallying cry and as the foundation for executing on their roughly 8-9 year old vision, they are doing it right, perhaps more right than they have ever done.”
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Juliana Kenny