Also launched in time for Dreamforce 2012, the sibling of FinancialForce Accounting, PSA Summer ’12, continues FinancialForce.com’s mission to help professional services companies gain visibility into their operations to increase revenue and profits, building on the professional services automation product FinancialForce.com acquired from Appirio in 2010. PSA Summer ’12, provides visibility into the factors affecting utilization performance, allowing users to compare target, scheduled, and actual utilization back through time, including the ability to analyze the root causes impacting performance.
PSA Summer ’12 also includes new functionality to let service teams be more productive, including timecard entry improvements, context sensitive help, and revenue recognition automation enhancements. Like its accounting sibling, PSA Summer ’12 also includes access to FinancialForce Community, an online portal and social platform for FinancialForce.com’s growing user and partner community. Tenrox, Deltek Maconomy, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, and other strong PSA players should watch out for FinancialForce.com PSA.
TEC article (May 2012): Assessing FinancialForce.com’s Early Years
Over the past several years, salesforce.com’s annual user conference Dreamforce has become a highly anticipated and entertaining end-of-the-year fixture for enterprise applications market observers. Well, Dreamforce 2011 was somewhat different as it took place in late August and early September 2011, but the vibrant feel of the event was no different. Indeed, in these prolonged times of bad economic news with businesses and government cutting spending across the board, one could again enjoy the unusually high attendance (45,000, for what it’s worth) and upbeat and “never a dull moment” atmosphere of the multi-day event, courtesy of salesforce.com’s CEO Marc Benioff and his executive team.
While Dreamforce 2009 was mostly about the continued growth of the vendor and the unveiling of Salesforce Chatter, the company’s quickly maturing social platform and collaboration cloud (covered in my mid-2010 blog series), the overall Dreamforce 2010 theme was cloud proliferation as well as salesforce.com’s further diversification and expansion in new frontiers (see my blog series for more details).
Dreamforce 2011 continued with the cloud proliferation theme (with new clouds such as Data.com and Heroku for Java), in addition to the theme of continued growth: salesforce.com is the first cloud company to exceed US$2.1.billion run rate and over 100,000 customers (ironically knocking on the door of the “evil empires” elite club). There have also been some acquisitions since Dreamforce 2010, most notably DimDim and Radian6. Post-Dreamforce 2011, salesforce.com has already acquired Assistly, a customer service social software startup in the lower end of the market.
One of the major takeaway messages from salesforce.com’s recent Dreamforce 2010 conference was the company’s diversification within the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) space. Namely, during their keynote presentations, the company’s executives admitted publicly to the Force.com platform’s proprietary nature (i.e., the non-mainstream Apex language), which made them decide recently to decouple the application development layer from the database layer in the cloud (the latter called database.com).
The application layer has been further broken down into several cloud-based application building flavors. To that end, there are the following application development environments that cater to different user constituencies and developer language preferences:
Both the “old” Deltek (pre-2005) and “new” Deltek (from 2005 on) have not been strangers to acquisitions, but these were largely well thought-out and appetizing (“nip in”) purchases of smaller companies that had either an attractive piece of technology or install base (or both). However, in early June 2010, immediately after its Insight 2010 user conference, Deltek announced its intent to acquire Maconomy A/S, a Denmark-based provider of solutions to the professional services market. On July 6, Deltek announced the completion of its tender offer to acquire the European enterprise resourceplanning (ERP) provider.
In Part 1 of this blog series I admitted to being a late adopter of a sort, in part for not immediately jumping onto the social media bandwagon. In particular, my initial reaction to Salesforce Chatter (a.k.a. Collaboration Cloud) was tepid. To be frank, Marc Benioff, salesforce.com’s flamboyant and engaging CEO, gave an atypically incoherent and dry keynote speech when he introduced Chatter at the Dreamforce 2009 conference.
However, a few months have passed and this period has helped salesforce.com craft a much clearer message. In addition, Chatter has reportedly been used within salesforce.com’s own organization (as the largest beta site/tester), which has given the vendor much more time and experience to improve and tweak the product.
Let me start this blog series with one disclaimer: I am not an early adopter and I do not easily fall for any vendor’s slick marketing. At a recent large user conference, a vendor’s staffer asked me why I wasn’t already using an iPad tablet computer.
That question cracked me up, since I still use an Apple’s discontinued iBook notebook (besides the fact that I might only start using the latest tablet bestseller when it begins to feature computer multi-tasking, an USB flash drive port, and a CD/DVD drive). My laptop computer seems quite ancient now, but it still works and seems indestructible like a Volkswagen Beetle, in spite of all the abuses it has endured at airports, airplanes, and cafes for years.
With all this personal background laid out, I now have to admit that for all these years I have also cast a skeptical eye on Salesforce.com. Sure, the company has been growing admirably for all that time while even achieving modest profits, but I have also been aware of it constantly announcing (i.e., creating buzz about) new concepts and products well before they were generally available (GA). Salesforce.com would then have to actually deliver on these products’ hyped promises, which would be another opportunity for buzz creation (in a “we told you so” manner).
It has been almost two years since NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N) went public and my analysis of that blockbuster initial public offering (IPO) event. Needless to say, much has happened at the bullish software company since.