Salesforce.com, (NYSE:CRM) the company that pioneered Software-as-a-Service [SAAS] through its revolutionary web-based Customer Relationship Management tool, is making new waves touting a new cloud computing platform – Force.com. Salesforce.com was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff and has investors including Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison. Salesforce.com’s CEO, Marc Benioff has claimed that the company has reached 1 million subscribers and it’s on track for more than $1 billion in revenues for its coming fiscal year.
Salesforce.com is a darling with Web 2.0 fans, as it cultivated the platform-as-a-service concept and today, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft are trying to catch up with an on-demand CRM offering. SAP offers CRM in a hosted model and is investing millions in building a suite of applications called SAP Business-by-Demand for SMBs in a hosted model. Microsoft recently announced a new version of its hosted CRM software - CRM 4.0, and plans to launch its SaaS version, called CRM Live, in the first half of this year.
Today, every major internet player wants to get into Cloud Computing, formerly known as on-demand computing, and Salesforce.com, the pioneer on Web 2.0, is following suit! Cloud computing is a concept by which computing is moved away from personal computers or an application server to a “cloud” of computers, connected by the Internet. Software manages the computing resources in the cloud and a slew of services including web applications can be served.
Experts say that this simplifies IT management as computers can be consolidated and can be used for more tasks, while underutilized systems do not sit idle. The architecture behind cloud computing is a massive network of "cloud servers" interconnected in a grid formation running in parallel, sometimes using the technique of virtualization to maximize computing power per server.
We have major players with cloud computing platforms today including Amazon.com’s Elastic Compute Cloud, Google File System, IBM’s Blue Cloud for example. In the past, we always used to run software on single computer that you mostly have to buy, own, and manage. This shift to a cloud platform, which is internet based, can change the tech industry tectonically! The big deal is that Internet and cloud platforms make is far easier to create and deploy applications.
Today if you use applications on Facebook for example, you know developers are all building their companies and products virtually. Salesforce.com on Thursday launched beta tools that make it possible for developers to integrate the company's software-as-a-service platform with their application development environment. Called the Force.com Development-as-a-Service, the tools include a metadata application programming interface for accessing database schema, user interface code and business logic on the Salesforce.com platform.
Developers can also download from Salesforce.com an application that enables development and deployment of software from an open source development framework.This will give subscribers of its CRM software, the flexibility to tailor the company's hosted customer relationship management and sales force automation software. This flexibility in application development appeals to large corporations with an IT staff available to build on top of Salesforce.com's core services.
Long known as a provider of online services for small and medium-sized businesses, the company is trying to capture large enterprises as its customers. Earlier last year, Dell became Salesforce.com's second large customer with 15,000 licenses. Now, the company has signed $37 billion Travel Company Carlson, the company which owns Radisson Hotels, T.G.I. Friday's, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, as a customer. With Internet becoming a secure platform and large enterprises willing to host applications on internet and transact sensitive data on it, we can only see Salesforce.com signing more large sized deals in the coming days. The cloud is powering on.