If Salesforce1 is not a platform then what is it? The Inclusion Theory may provide the key. Inclusion is one of the seminal theories in geology. An inclusion happens when any older material is enclosed inside a newer rock or mineral. The Inclusion Theory in computing holds that Salesforce1 along with products from Amazon Web Services and aMind Solutions (among other companies) enable developers to create a new class of applications by including different mass market devices and enterprise systems together within their structure.
The significance of this approach is that it treats devices, not as dumb terminals at the top of a software stack, but as hand held computers that also happen to make phone calls. This opens the door for an entirely class of applications to be developed in the cloud that would be impossible to develop in either traditional client server or mainframe environments.
Figure 1: Geological Principal of Inclusion
Source: Idaho Museum of Natural History
Conceptually the theory holds that inclusions take place when APIs and other device-specific code are enclosed inside a newer layer of software, such as Salesforce1. This “inclusion” layer manages tasks such as access, security, and identity. Using the inclusion layer, enterprise systems can be consistently, reliably and cost effectively accessed from devices designed for the mass market. As an unexpected benefit, the inclusion layer also opens the door to a new way of integrating systems together above database or server level. The inclusion layer is also subject to the network effect and becomes more valuable as more devices and enterprise systems are included.
Figure 2: The Inclusion Theory
Source: Constellation Research
In addition to Salesforce1, Constellation research has identified at least two other products that are examples of the inclusion layer approach at work and provide clues how Salesforce1 is likely to develop. They include:
- Amazon Web Services AppStream
- aMind Mobile and Web Framework
Constellation Research has published a report the "Inclusion Layer Products Enter the Market" by Constellation Principal Analyst and Vice President, J. Bruce Daley. A complimentary report snapshot is available.