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Posts from the ‘Salesforce’ Category

Why Salesforce Is Winning The Cloud Platform War

300px-Salesforce_Logo_2009The future of any enterprise software vendor is being decided today in their developer community.

Alex William’s insightful thoughts on Salesforce Is A Platform Company. Period. underscores how rapidly Salesforce is maturing as a cloud platform.  And the best measure of that progress can be seen in their developer community.

(To be clear, Salesforce and the other companies mentioned in this post are not clients and never have been.  I track this area out of personal interest.)

DevZone force.com

The last four years I’ve made a point at every Salesforce Dreamforce event to spend the majority of my time in the developer area.  Watching mini hacks going on in the DevZone, mini workshops, the Salesforce Platform and Developer keynotes over the last few years has been a great learning experience.  An added plus: developers are often skeptical and want to see new enhancements help streamline their code, extend its functionality, and push the limits of the Force.com platform. This healthy skepticism has led to needed improvements in the Force.com platform, including a change to governor limits on Application Programmer Interface (APIs) performance and many other enhancements.  Despite the criticisms of Force.com being proprietary due to Apex and SOQL, the crowds at developer forums continue to grow every year.

I’ve started to look at the developer area as the crucible or foundry for future apps.  While the Cloud Expo shows how vibrant the partner ecosystem is, the developer area is where tomorrow’s apps are being coded today. The Force.com Workbook, an excellent reference for Force.com developers, was just released October 1 and DeveloperForce shows how far the developer support is matured in Salesforce.  In addition a new Force.com REST API Developer’s Guide is out just last month.

The Journey From Application To Platform

In visiting the developer area of Dreamforce over the last four years I’ve seen indications that Salesforce is successfully transforming itself into a cloud platform business:

  • Significant jump in the quantity and quality of developer attendees from 2010 to 2012.  The depth of questions, sophistication of code samples, calls for more flexibility with governor limits, and better mobile support typified these years.
  • Steady improvement to visual design tools, application development environment and support for jQuery, Sencha and Apache Cordova.
  • The steady maturation of Salesforce Touch as a mobile development platform and launch of Salesforce Platform Mobile Services Launched in 2011, this platform continues to mature, driven by developer’s requirements that reflect their customers’ needs for mobility support.  HTML 5 is supported and the apps I’ve seen written on it are fast, accurate and ideal for customer service.  ServiceMax has created exceptional mobile apps including their comprehensive ServiceMax for iPad app on the Force.com platform.
  • 2012: Rise of the Mobile Enterprise Developer.  Salesforce’s enterprise customers in 2009 weren’t nearly as active as they were last year with questions on legacy systems integration and how to create web services capable of integrating customer data.  2011 was a breakout year in mobile app development with 2012 showing strong momentum on mobile web services development.  I expect this year’s Dreamforce developer community to reflect the rapidly growing interest in mobile as well.

How Enterprise Applications Make The Salesforce Platform Work For Them

In speaking with Salesforce developers over the years one of my favorite questions continues to be “what is the real payoff of having a native Force.com application in your company?”  Initially I thought this was marketing spin from enterprise software vendors attempting to use features as benefits, however after a closer look it is clear that the platform has significant advantages, especially for any solution requiring global deployments or large numbers of users.  Here is what I found out:

  • The investments Salesforce.com has made in their cloud infrastructure over several years (and continue to make) has resulted in a platform that developers  are leveraging to rapidly deliver enterprise applications that deliver world-class performance, reliability, and security.
  • Of the many native Force.com applications that extend Salesforce beyond CRM, it’s been my experience the most challenging are Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) and contract management.  Creating a single system of record across these two areas is challenging even outside of Force.com, which is why many companies in this space have two entirely different product strategies.  Apttus is the exception as they have successfully created a unified product strategy on Force.com alone.  I recently had the chance to speak with Neehar Giri, President and Chief Solutions Architect.  “Apttus’ strategic decision to deliver our enterprise-class applications natively on the Salesforce platform has allowed us to focus on our customer needs, meeting and exceeding their expectations in both functionality and speed of innovation,” said Neehar Giri, president and chief solutions architect, Apttus.  “We’ve seen the platform evolve rapidly in its capabilities and global scalability.  Apttus’ customers have and continue to benefit from the true multi- tenancy, world class security, reliability and performance of the Salesforce Platform.”
  • Salesforce.com’s multi-tenant architecture allows for optimization of computing resources resulting in savings and significant gains in efficiency for global enterprises even over applications deployed on private clouds.
  • Native Force.com applications share the same security model as Salesforce apps.  Financialforce.com chose to develop their accounting, ordering and billing, professional services automation and service resource planning entirely on the Force.com architecture due to shared master data, multi- tenancy, world class security, reliability and performance.  This shared architecture also benefits enterprise consumers of native applications by providing best-in-class uptime.
  • Native Force.com applications are contributing to greater return on investment (ROI). IT often does not need to manage data integration or sync issues, upgrades to even large numbers of users are easily deployed, and users can remain in a familiar interface.   These benefits support faster and easier deployment as well as rapid user adoption both of which are critical to success and a high ROI for any solution. Enterprise developers have often mentioned the familiar interface and ease of deployment have led to higher rates of adoption than any other approach to delivering new application functionality.
  • Advanced APIs to support integration of legacy applications not on the Force.com platform.
  • Proven ability of Salesforce.com to support global deployments.  The company has expanded its global support centers.  Salesforce.com also publishes real-time statistics on system status: http://trust.salesforce.com/trust/.
  • A continuing acceleration of new capabilities resulting from increasing numbers of developers driving the advancement of the platform through their collective input, suggestions and requirements.
  • Ability to design applications that respond with greater customer insight and intelligence across mobile devices.  ServiceMax has an impressive series of mobile applications that do this today.  I had a chance to speak with David Yarnold, their CEO about his vision for the company.  He wants to give ServiceMax’s customers the ability to deliver flawless field service where every interaction is perfect.  By building on the Force.com architecture he explained how each service customers’ contextual intelligence can be seen in real-time by everyone involved in serving customers.  Clearly ServiceMax is capitalizing on the mobile development platform area of Force.com as well.

Bottom Line: Enabling developers to attain greater revenue growth, while creating an extensive mobile app development platform is further proof Salesforce has turned the corner from being an application company to a platform provider.

SaaS Adoption Accelerates, Goes Global in the Enterprise

In working with manufacturers and financial services firms over the last year, one point is becoming very clear: SaaS is gaining trust as a solid alternative for global deployments across the enterprise.  And this trend has been accelerating in the last six months.  One case in point is a 4,000 seat SaaS CRM deployment going live in Australia, Europe, and the U.S. by December of this year.

What’s noteworthy about this shift is that just eighteen months ago an Australian-based manufacturer was only considering SaaS for on-premises enhancement of their CRM system.  What changed?  The European and U.S. distribution and sales offices were on nearly 40 different CRM, quoting, proposal and pricing systems.  It was nearly impossible to track global opportunities.

Meanwhile business was booming in Australia and there were up-sell and cross-sell opportunities being missed in the U.S. and European-based headquarters of their prospects. The manufacturer  chose to move to a global SaaS CRM solution quickly.  Uniting all three divisions with a global sales strategy forced the consolidation of 40 different quoting, pricing and CRM systems in the U.S. alone.  What they lost in complexity they are looking to pick up in global customer sales.

Measuring Where SaaS Is Cannibalizing On-Premise Enterprise Applications

Gartner’s Market Trends: SaaS’s Varied Levels of Cannibalization to On-Premises Applications published: 29 October 2012 breaks out the percent of SaaS revenue for ten different enterprise application categories.  The greener the color the greater the adoption.  As was seen with the Australian manufacturer, CRM continues dominate this trend of SaaS cannibalizing on-premise enterprise applications.

Additional take-aways from this report include the following:

  • Perceived lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) continues to be the dominant reason enterprises are considering SaaS adoption, with 50% of respondents in 2012 mentioning this as the primary factor in their decision.
  • CRM is leading all other enterprise application areas in net new deployments according to the Gartner study, with the majority of on-premise replacements being in North America and Europe.
  • Gartner projects that by 2016 more than 50% of CRM software revenue will be delivered by SaaS.  As of 2011, 35% of CRM software was delivered on the SaaS platform.  Gartner expects to see SaaS-based CRM grow at three time the rate of on-premise applications.
  • 95% of Web analytics functions are delivered via the SaaS model  whereas only 40% of sales use cloud today according to the findings of this study.
  • The highest adoption rates of SaaS-based applications include sales, customer service, social CRM and marketing automation.
  • SaaS-based ERP will continued to be a small percentage of the total market, attaining 10% cannibalization by 2012.  Forrester has consistently said this is 13%, growing to 16% by 2015.
  • Office suites and digital content creation (DCC) will attain compound annual growth rates (CAGR) of 40.7% and a 32.2% respectively from 2011 through 2016. Gartner is making the assumption consumers and small businesses will continue be the major forces for Web-based office suites through 2013.
  • The four reasons why companies don’t choose SaaS include uncertainty if it is the right deployment option (36%), satisfaction with existing on-premise applications (30%), no further requirements (33%) and locked into their current solution with expensive contractual requirements (14%).

Bottom Line: Enterprises and their need to compete with greater accuracy and speed are driving the cannibalization of on-premise applications faster than many anticipated; enterprise software vendors need to step up and get in front of this if they are going to retain their greatest sources of revenue.

Source:  Market Trends: SaaS’s Varied Levels of Cannibalization to On-Premises Applications Published: 29 October 2012 written by Chad Eschinger, Joanne M. Correia, Yanna Dharmasthira, Tom Eid, Chris Pang, Dan Sommer, Hai Hong Swinehart and Laurie F. Wurster

Gartner Releases Their Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012

Enterprises are beginning to change their buying behaviors based on the deployment speed, economics and customization that cloud-based technologies provide.  Gartner cautions however that enterprises are far from abandoning their on-premise models and applications entirely for the cloud.

Based on an analysis of the Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012, the best results are being attained by enterprises that focus on a very specific strategy and look to cloud-based technologies to accelerate their performance.  Leading with a strategic framework of goals and objectives increases the probability of cloud-based platform success. Those enterprises that look to cloud platforms only for cost reduction miss out on their full potential.

The Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012 is shown below:

Cloudwashing and Inflated Enterprise Expectations

While the hype surrounding cloud computing may have peaked, cloudwashing continues to cause confusion and inflated expectations with enterprise buyers.  This just slows down sales cycles, when more straightforward selling could lead to more pilots, sales and a potentially larger market. Cloud vendors who have the expertise gained from delivering cloud platforms on time, under budget, with customer references showing results are starting to overtake those that using cloudwashing as part of their selling strategies.

Additional take-aways from the Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing include the following:

  • Cloud Email is expected to have a 10% adoption rate in enterprises by 2014, down from the 20% Gartner had forecasted in previous Hype Cycles.  This represents modest growth as the adoption rate of this category had been between 5 and 6% in 2011.
  • Big Data will deliver transformational benefits to enterprises within 2 to 5 years, and by 2015 will enable enterprises adopting this technology to outperform competitors by 20% in every available financial metric.  Gartner defines Big Data as including large volumes processed in streams, in addition to batch.  Integral to Big Data is an extensible services framework that can deploy processing to the data or bring data to the process workflow itself. Gartner also includes more than one asset type of data in their definition, including structured and unstructured content.  The Priority Matrix for Cloud Computing, 2012 is shown below:

  • Master Data Management (MDM) Solutions in the Cloud and Hybrid IT are included in this hype cycle for the first time in 2012.  Gartner reports that MDM Solutions in the Cloud is getting additional interest from Enterprise buyers as part of a continual upward trend of interest in MDM overall.  Dominant vendors in this emerging area include Cognizant, Data Scout, IBM, Informatica, Oracle and Orchestra Networks, are among those with MDM-in-the-cloud solutions.
  • PaaS continues to be one of the most misunderstood aspects of cloud platforms.  The widening gap between enterprise expectations and experiences is most prevalent in this market.  Gartner claims this is attributable to the relatively narrow middleware functions delivered and the consolidation fo vendors and service providers in this market.
  • By 2014 the Personal Cloud will have replaced the personal computer as the center of user’s digital lives.
  • Private Cloud Computing is among the highest interest areas across all cloud computing according to Gartner, with 75% of respondents in Gartner polls saying they plan to pursue a strategy in this area by 2014.  Pilot and production deployments are in process across many different enterprises today, with one of the major goals being the evaluation of virtualization-driven value and benefits.
  • SaaS is rapidly gaining adoption in enterprises, leading Gartner to forecast more than 50% of enterprises will have some form of SaaS-based application strategy by 2015.  Factors driving this adoption are the high priority enterprises are putting on customer relationships, gaining greater insights through analytics, overcoming IT- and capital budget-based limitations, and aligning IT more efficiently to strategic goals.
  • More than 50% of all virtualization workloads are based on the x86 architecture. This is expected to increase to 75% by 2015.  Gartner reports this is a disruptive innovation which is changing the relationship between IT and enterprise where service levels and usage can be tracked.

Bottom line: Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing  shows that when cloud-based platforms are aligned with well-defined strategic initiatives and line-of-business objectives, they deliver valuable contributions to an enterprise.  It also shows how Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are the catalysts of long-term market growth.  The following slide from the presentation  High-Tech Tuesday Webinar: Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast, 2Q12 Update: Cloud Is the Silver Lining (free for download) also makes this point.

Gartner Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012: Sales Turns to the Cloud for Quick Relief

Sales VPs for years have been test-driving SaaS-based CRM systems, piloting them with sales teams to see if using them leads to higher sales and greater customer retention.  Marketing VPs and Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) also continue to pilot SaaS-based web analytics and marketing automation applications.

What’s been missing from these pilots is the ability to bring CRM, marketing automation, sales management and web analytics systems into existing enterprise IT architectures just as fast.  This is changing quickly.  CRM vendors have been quick to respond to the challenge, offering Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs), integration adapters, connectors and from larger vendors, integrated bus architectures.

What the Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012 Means

CRM’s real value is in unifying an entire enterprise based on its ability to sell, serve and retain customers better than before. Gartner shows this is a high priority for its CRM clients by underscoring which technology and application areas of the hype cycle are responding to his market dynamic, and which aren’t.

This Hype Cycle also reflects the urgency I hear from Sales VPs who want to get in control of the complex compensation, quota, territory management, job appraisal and sales coaching responsibilities they have.  While each of these areas is essential, many companies, even those in enterprise software, have ignored these areas, allowing them to stay manually based. Gartner calls this area Sales Performance Management (SPM) and shows it has the highest benefit of all SaaS-based sales management applications in the next two years. Gartner’s analysis captures the time shortage that Sales VPs I know are facing; they have to get to high quota levels while also managing a diverse set of leadership responsibilities as well. The Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012 (G00234919) is shown below:

 

  • Gartner estimates 35% of all CRM implementations today use SaaS, growing to over 50% by 2020 according to their projections. In 2011, more than $5 billion was invested in sales applications.
  • Cloud adoption varies significantly across CRM software categories with Web analytics achieving 95% adoption, Sales Force Automation achieving just over 50%, and Configure Price Quote (CPQ) achieving 40%.  Cloud-based Sales Performance Management has the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of any CRM category according to inquiry and client calls.
  • Sales, Customer Service, Social CRM and Marketing are the four fastest-growing areas of enterprise Sales applications on SaaS.  Campaign Management is increasingly quickly, up from 19% using SaaS in 2010 to 29% in 2011.
  • Gartner sees significant growth in Configure Price Quote (CPQ), projecting a market of $300M in 2012, up from $240M in 2011.  Gartner is due out with a MarketScope on CPQ shortly, where the 15 major vendors it tracks in this area will be ranked.  40% of existing implementations are on SaaS, and that proportion is increasing relative to licensed versions.  Of the 15 vendors in this market, 12 have announced SaaS-based versions of their applications.
  • There are 3.8M Sales Force Automation SaaS users globally today.
  • By 2017, 25% of companies adopting CRM will have extended their customer service contact centers to include social media including Facebook, Twitter and other emerging online communities.  As of 2012, Gartner is seeing only 1% of companies integrate social media into their companies’ departments and workflows to ensure a consistent customer experience.
  • Price Optimization will experience transformational growth in two to five years. Gartner sees this area as one of the most promising across all CRM Sales as can be seen in the Priority Matrix for CRM Sales 2012 below from the Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012.  The research firm has defined this market as including price analysis, price optimization and price execution.  Gartner estimates this market was $180M to $190M in 2010.  Vendor competing in this market include Accenture, Deloitte, Pros, Vendavo, Vistaar Technologies and Zilliant.

  • Social CRM (SCRM) for Sales is at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, with 90% of spending for these applications being generated from B2C companies.  Gartner expects B2B companies to lead the growth of these applications through 2015, increasing spending from 5% of total SCRM sales in 2011 to 30% by 2015.
  • SaaS-based CRM sales within enterprises are expected to reach $4.48B in 2012, growing to $6.3B in 2015.  The following table from the report Forecast: Software as a Service, Worldwide 2010-2015, 2H11 Update provides a frame of reference for SaaS-based CRM growth overall.

  • Salesforce leads all CRM vendors in market share growth, advancing 2.8% from 2010 to 2011 according to Gartner’s’ global market share analysis shown below. Salesforce attained 26.9% revenue growth from 2010 to 2011 ($1.3B to $1.6B) and 36.7% growth from 2011 to 2012 ($1.6B to $2.27B).  The future momentum of Salesforce is in unifying the enterprise, redefining corporate IT in the context of the customer. Their recent acquisitions show analytics, marketing automation and development platforms are key priorities.  The following table is from the report Market Share Snapshot: CRM Software, 2011 (G00233998).

Bottom line:  Making CRM strategies successful has to start with a common vision and urgency for results.  Both are happening quicker in CRM than ever before, driven by a much clearer understanding of what enterprises need and an impatience for results.

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