Part 1 of this blog series talked about my attendance of Dreamforce 2010, salesforce.com’s annual user conference, which has over the past several years become a highly anticipated and entertaining end-of-the-year fixture for enterprise applications market observers. My post concluded that while Dreamforce 2009 was mostly about continued growth of the cloud computing trailblazer and unveiling of Salesforce Chatter, the company’s nascent social platform and collaboration cloud (as duly covered by my blog series), the overall Dreamforce 2010 theme was cloud proliferation (and salesforce.com’s further diversification).
In his blog post, Louis Columbus states that at the center of Dreamforce 2010 was the transformation of salesforce.com into an enterprise cloud platform provider, starting with endorsing open application programming interfaces (APIs) including REST (Representational State Transfer), which its developer community had reportedly been requesting for over a year. Moreover, after realizing the proprietary nature of its Force.com cloud platform (and its Apex code), salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and his co-founder Parker Harris have recently decided to decouple Force.com into a more open application layer, for platform as a service (PaaS) purposes and a database layer for providing infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Dreamforce, salesforce.com’s annual user conference, has over the past several years become a highly anticipated and entertaining end-of-the-year fixture for the enterprise applications market observers (surprisingly, Dreamforce 2011 will take place in late August, and let’s see how that new timing will feel). Namely, in these prolonged times of bad economic news and businesses recoiling across the board, one could always enjoy the unusually high attendance 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 nascent social platform and collaboration cloud (as duly covered by my blog series), the overall Dreamforce 2010 theme was the cloud proliferation (and salesforce.com’s further diversification). Needless to say, this was in addition to the theme of continued growth.
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 when it was introduced at the Dreamforce 2009 conference.
However, a few months have passed and this period has helped salesforce.com craft the much clearer cloud computing evolution message that was analyzed in Part 2. The article then also went on to explain my change of heart and discussed Salesforce Chatter’s current state of affairs (in terms of the current number of beta users and third-party solutions).
Salesforce Chatter became generally available (GA) as of June 22, 2010. Salesforce.com is even entertaining the idea that Chatter could be a general enterprise platform on its own. One Chatter-based application was recently announced by FinancialForce.com and is called Chatterbox.
Chatterbox comes within the FinancialForce Accounting product but the idea is to also sell it to accounting departments as standalone. For more information on the product, see the company’s press release (PR), a related blog post from WebCPA, and the product’s dedicated Web page.
The final part of this blog series will explain many design principles and possible use of Chatter and Chatterbox from my dialogue with Jeremy Roche, FinancialForce.com CEO and President, and UNIT4 CODA chairman.
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).