Event Report: Dreamforce 2008 – Love is In the Clouds

Published on November 12, 2008 by R "Ray" Wang

Entrance to the DreamForce Expo Floor at Moscone Center, SF, CA

(Photo: Main show floor for Dreamforce 2008 at Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA. Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.)

Over 9,000 attendees made it to the annual San Francisco pilgrimage to hear the high priest of SaaS kickoff the event.  This year’s theme focused on the future of Cloud Computing, a focus on success, and  how much Salesforce loves its customers.  Key product, technology, and partnership announcements from the November 3rd to 5th event include:

  • Force.com expands usage to new product and services. Force.com sites allows customers to publish Force.com data and apps to any site, basically supporting customer built web apps. SFDC will take care of domain, URL, RSS management, etc when customers run their Web apps on Force.com.  Other expansions include Force.com for Amazon and Force.com for Facebook.  On the Amazon front,  SFDC also will support applications being built using Amazon web services, in effect creating a mega cloud.  Facebook support allows developers to tap into the Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect. POV: Movement to expand the platform into new B2C facing markets give SFDC credibility in new social media markets as well as taking the Cloud wars to the consumer.  Consider this a continuation in the battle for dominance of IDE’s in the cloud.
  • CODA showcases its financial package on APEX for the North American market. While Coda2Go was launched at Dreamforce Europe in London last May, attendees at Dreamforce 2008 in San Francisco had a chance to see first hand how the 30 year old vendor had completed its rewrite.  With enterprise financials built on this new platform, Salesforce.com customers now have more choice in financial solutions within the ecosystem.POV: Like many mid-market vendors, CODA had the opportunity to bet on the next platform and chose a SaaS approach over an on-premise middleware platform.  Most mid-market vendors bet on a Microsoft VS.NET “Rainbow” Stack, IBM Websphere,  or Progress Software.  These middleware platforms allow companies to spend 10 to 15% of budget on tools and technology instead of a staggering 33% that many would spend if they built their own middleware.  CODA’s decision is market leading for the industry and is reflective of its groundbreaking historical bets on HP3000 in the 70’s, VAX (DEC) in the 80’s, and AS/400’s (IBM) in the 90’s.
  • Glovia, a Fujitsu Company, builds order management on Force.com. Customers seeking lead to billing solutions in order management can now turn to the Glovia solution for order management, inventory, fulfillment, and billing.  Glovia takes the order from Salesforce.com and brings it into the order management system giving it visibility from prospect to invoice.  Enterprises can also check status via the web or on a mobile device via Salesforce mobile. POV: Salesforce.com’s ecosystem strategy allows other vendors to build key back office end to end processes.  As more companies add to the ecosystem, SalesForce will continue to gain market relevance against enterprise vendors struggling to move to a true multi-tenant on Deman delivery model.The bottom line – SaaS platforms continue to morph into cloud computing

The bottom line – SaaS platforms continue to morph into cloud computing

Recent decisions by CODA, Glovia, and a host of software vendors show that the transition from on-premise middleware platforms to cloud-based platforms has begun. Application development and delivery professionals seeking new delivery models can benefit from these new platforms. Force.com is gaining momentum and given its history will emerge as one of the top 3 platforms for both customers and software vendors. The real question out there – what will vendor lock-in look like in the world of cloud computing? Will it be like the mainframe lock-ins 40 years prior?

Your POV.

Are you considering a SaaS deployment? Will you move to the cloud? Are you a software vendor looking at ditching your on-premise middleware platform? Feel free to share with me your thoughts. You can post here or send me a private email to rwang0@gmail.com.

(Photo: Entrance into the show floor for Dreamforce 2008 at Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA. Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.)

Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.

  • SFDC has done some good honing of their PaaS strategy. With more appropriate pricing, especially for sites, this is not just a story for consumers, but really for business owners who are looking to extend applications to their customers and partners. Still, the question with the 50 or so Force.com early adopters (e.g., Coda, etc) is the ultimate ability to deliver an end-to-end solution with acceptable SLA, management, or even just maintaining the integrations as each of those solutions upgrade on different schedules. Thoughts?

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