Dreamforce Demonstrates Dramatic Market Move to the Cloud
The tenth anniversary of Salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce conference turned into a massive celebration of the immediate benefits and exciting innovatives being produced in the Cloud. Rather than report on each of the many announcements and new features rolled out at the event, I’d like to focus on the more important messages conveyed at Dreamforce regarding the market movement to the Cloud, and the continuing success of Salesforce.com to assert itself as the thought-leader and dominant force in this industry.
The biggest news from Dreamforce was the magnitude and energy of the event. The overwhelming number of people (estimated at over 95 thousand!), both customers and partners, who are enthusiastically pursuing Salesforce.com’s ‘social revolution’ clearly indicates that the concept of Cloud-based alternatives to traditional, on-premise applications and systems is gaining greater momentum.
More specifically, Salesforce.com is attempting to capitalize on this growing receptivity by expanding its portfolio into marketing, human resource management (HRM), content sharing and identity management solutions to bolster its strategic position in the market. It also sought to strengthen its stance in the accelerating migration of applications and business to mobile devices with its introduction of Touch.
While there is no question that Salesforce.com is stepping on a lot of toes by moving in each of these directions, it is also expotentially expanding the addressable market and sphere of influence within the enterprise.
The laundry list of companies threatened by Salesforce.com’s latest initiatives is long and varied. But, the new offerings don’t have to be a death knell for them. For instance, although Box.net has gained lots of attention and many users, it hasn’t established a firm hold on B2B and enterprise markets. And, there are no dominant players in the other areas either. Salesforce.com will bring greater legitimacy to each of these domains, in the same way it has championed the idea of social networking in the enterprise with Chatter. Because of its stature and selling power, it is now a formidable new competitor in each of the areas it has targeted. But, it will also create more opportunities for others with even greater focus in each of these disciplines.
It will be interesting to see how much time and effort it puts into clearly defining how its new capabilities align with those partners in ajacent businesses, such as Marketo and Eloqua in marketing automation or Okta and Ping Identity in the identity management arena.
Equally important, Salesforce.com is continuing to expand its partner ecosystem and promote their success. Although being a part of the AppExchange Expo at Dreamforce isn’t cheap (the smallest booths cost $40k and the biggest a more than a million dollars!), nearly every exhibitor agreed that there is no better industry event to sell their wares and garner attention in the marketplace. There may have been too many people passing through the aisles at this year’s Dreamforce to conduct meaningful conversations. But, that’s a good problem to have.
It’s always fun to talk to people attending their first Dreamforce, especially my clients who I’m trying to convince that Salesforce.com’s market is where they should focus their attention. Many I saw over the past three days were overwhelmed by the scale of the event and the energy in the crowd. In short, Salesforce.com is the best channel to market for Cloud companies targeting businesses and enterprises.
Speaking of channels, I had the privilege of meeting with Ron Huddleston, Salesforce.com’s Senior Vice President Global ISV & Channel Alliances, after he kicked off the Partner Summit at Dreamforce. Ron was amped up about the new partner programs which Salesforce.com is offering and returning to the Cloud Channel Summit on November 5 to report on the company’s progress in expanding its channels to market.
I could get into many more details about Dreamforce, but the debate is over…the world is moving to the Cloud and it is time for corporate decision-makers, hardware and software vendors, IT solution providers and investors to get onboard and not be left behind.