On the eve of its Dreamforce conference the cloud apps pioneer has moved on way beyond its roots in CRM
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As the annual Dreamforce extravaganza kicks off in its native city of San Francisco today, Salesforce.com is powering on and advancing on a broad front. Never short of ambition or shy of celebrating its own successes, this week will doubtless be used describe to mark its relentless progress as its charismatic founder Marc Benioff closes in on becoming perhaps the most successful CEO in business technology today. Salesforce.com is a phenomenon. It was founded in 1999, a time when many observers felt that the model of accessing software services online was a busted flush, but it defined and validated the whole cloud applications sector and went on to become by far its biggest company. Starting out as a customer relationship management and sales cycle automation specialist, it has become a platform for others to build on as well as a broad business management player itself, growing especially fast in marketing technology but also in service and analytics clouds.
Today, Salesforce is a fixed point in the IT landscape, as unavoidable as the towers it builds as a totemic tribute to its own power and status. It’s the default choice for companies in managing customer interactions, is highly popular among customers and hugely respected among peers. This week as the company assembles thousands of customers and partners – as well as stars like Goldie Hawn, Jessica Alba and Patricia Arquette – for Dreamforce, I spoke to a closely related firm for a perspective on