At this year’s Dreamworld Saleforce.com Chairman Marc Benioff announced a new and potentially disruptive technology from a podium set in the center of the Moscone South convention center. His audience consisted of such notables’ as actor Sean Penn, model and philanthropist Petra Nemcova and the prime minister of Haiti Laurent Lamothe as well as fifteen thousand customers, partners, and employees as well as another 100,000 watching remotely.
Despite the fact the announcement was the most important of the fall enterprise 2013 software season, the news mostly fell on deaf ears. Not because Benioff & Company are not good at positioning software. No one in the business is better. But how do you get any large crowd excited about plumbing? Although Prime Minister Lamothe, Mr. Penn, and Miss Nemcova may be forgiven for not grasping the announcement’s full significance the news mostly escaped the 134,892 people in attendance that did not want to think about platform issues. Which is exactly the point.
As is often the case with disruptive technology a new offering is very difficult to explain because it requires a new way of thinking. That left many of the audience trying to understand Salesforce1 in ways it is not. Even by the lose standards of the definition it is not a platform. It is not a strategy. It is not a mobile interface. It is not a combination of exiting products. And it is not the only product of its kind.
“Honestly, it’s the best engineering we have ever done” said Marc Benioff in his keynote speech.
The Salesforce1 represents an enormous engineering effort since it required the entire Salesforce.com platform to be redesigned and rewritten. As a result some customers are using Salesforce1 today without even knowing it. Here is what is it not:
- Platform - Even by the lose standards of the definition it is not a platform because it does not store data permanently. Salesforce1 does not have data base under neither it nor can it be mined for data. In the real world a platform is a raised level surface on which people can stand or objects placed. Saleforce1 is more like a roof than floor but one that lets smoke go out and cable television come in.
- Strategy – Salesforce1 is not a strategy since it includes code and has been partly released.
- Mobile interface - Although mobility that is an important part, fixed devices, such as desktop computers can use the Salesforce1 inclusion layer, and Salesforce has worked for three years to replatformed itself so SF1 is more than just an interface. Combination of existing Salesforce products – Elements of past Salesforce products make their appearance in Salesforce1, but it is new technology, and some products such as Yammer were re-architected to accommodate it so it is not just a mash up of old products.
- Combination of existing Salesforce products – Elements of past Salesforce products make their appearance in Salesforce1, but it is new technology, and some products such as Yammer were re-architected to accommodate it so it is not just a mash up of old products.
So what exactly is Salesforce1? Stay tuned here.