DreamForce 2012: Salesforce.com Makes Bid for New Markets
DreamForce 2012 was said to be the biggest one yet, with a reported 72,000 attendees. Among the highlights of this year’s keynote was the continuation of salesforce.com CEO, Marc Benioff’s proclamation that we are in the midst of a “customer revolution,” and that businesses must become social enterprises or get left behind.
Since the launch of Chatter, salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has been painting his picture of a truly social enterprise: A company in which employees communicate both internally and with their customers via social media, creating a social media community for customers, employees, and products to all engage and collaborate together. With companies like IBM, Lithium, Jive, and Yammer working towards this vision since as early as 2001 this was a test for salesforce.com entering into a new market beyond their core business, one they believed was the future of business, like the “Cloud” was 10 years ago.
In the opening keynote at DreamForce 2012, Marc Benioff began his speech by siting an IBM study of 1709 CEOs, General Managers, and Global Business Leaders. Two of the key takeaways from the study were:
1. “CEOs believe that social has become one of the top to ways to engage customers mainly at the expense of traditional approaches.”
2. “For some time, businesses have been refining and optimizing their networks of suppliers and partners… But something just as revolutionary has been happening – the sudden convergence of the cloud, social, and mobile spheres – connecting customers, employees, and partners in new ways…”
The latter of the two is closely aligned with the vision of the social enterprise that Benioff has been describing for the last few years.
During the keynote, Benioff highlighted and demonstrated the new features that enable a truly social enterprise through some amazing case studies of salesforce.com clients who have already begun implementing this vision. These examples show just how effectively and quickly salesforce.com was able to gain ground on the incumbents in the social enterprise market. In 2011 we also began to see salesforce.com appearing as a leader on Gartner’s Magic quadrant for social enterprise providers, just a few short years after Chatter launched.
In addition to the enhancements to their core products — Sales Cloud and Service Cloud — the new offerings announced during the keynote at this year’s DreamForce once again expand salesforce.com’s influence far beyond their core business of CRM and SFA; deeper into the social enterprise space, but also disrupting a slew of more unexpected and competitive markets. These markets include marketing automation, performance management, cloud storage, and identity services. In each of these new markets salesforce.com will be competing with existing incumbents, some of which are salesforce.com partners.
|New Product||New Market||Incumbents|
|Social Marketing Suite||Marketing Automation||Eloqua, Marketo, Silver-pop|
|Work.com||Performance Management||Successfactors, Kenexa, Taleo (Oracle)|
|ChatterBox||Cloud Storage||DropBox, Box.net|
|Salesforce.com Identity||Identity Services||Okta, PingID, Imprivata|
A natural question to ask as a reaction to these new products is, are they spreading themselves too thin? After all, they had already made acquisitions and investments in the content management space competing against WordPress and Drupal with Siteforce, which never really got off the ground. Salesforce.com has also changed course a number of times with their knowledge, customer support portal, and ideas products. Are these new products destined for the same fate, or will their adoption be as seamless and obvious as Marc Benioff and his clients made it sound in the key note?
While some of these products may succeed and others may not, salesforce.com is quickly becoming one of the most well-positioned technology companies in the world to help business become social. The reason is that they are quickly building a social enterprise stack suited to go after the front office of the world’s largest companies and establish a beachhead into the back office.
In my next post I’ll explain this in more detail. In the meantime, this series by Ted Sapoutzis is a great primer on the social enterprise market.
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