Friday, December 10, 2010

Salesforce moves downstream

The typical logic is for companies to move up the stack. Salesforce this week took a pretty substantial set of steps toward becoming an infrastructure company for the new era of the Cloud. To be honest, I am blown away (and happy that I am a Salesforce stockholder).

Certainly Salesforce made it's mark as a CRM application that was deployed on their Cloud so it took away any need for software and IT. Salesforce drastically lowering costs and let businesses run at their own pace rather than the lethargy of many IT-heavy apps like Siebel and Oracle CRM. For the past several years it has really built out a community and platform with AppExchange. I have also heard interesting stories about companies like the Japanese postal service deploying a major application on the platform. But deals like these were kind of hidden and not a central part of the business.

This week, Salesforce announced three significant endeavors:
  • - Just like Amazon opened up their servers with AWS, Salesforce is opening up their database infrastructure for anyone to use. The database is now in the cloud. Totally elastic, easy to access, and without all the typical worries of owning and managing your own database. How the heck did Oracle not buy this url? A friend in the domain business guessed the price for the url was just short of $1M. Not a bad price...
  • Chatter - This is becoming a bigger part of the Salesforce CRM user experience (at eXo, we have seen increased use of Salesforce driven by the Chatter capabilities) with free access. However, it is really a set of services available for any application using the Salesforce infrastructure offerings. Note that offers a Social Data Model, complete with profiles, feeds & status updates that any application can use.
  • Heroku - $250M if you include the employee perks. For a company that was likely well under $10M in revenue. Salesforce is serious about being the infrastructure for many, many applications. Heroku brings 100,000+, and in several years it should be 1,000,000+ applications. seems like such an insufficient name for the type of ambition that they have shown in moving toward being a significant player in the Cloud infrastructure business.

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