Up-and-comers pushing cloud stalwarts to diversify

By Brandon Butler, Network World |  Cloud Computing

Even with the tremendous growth, Salesforce is aggressively moving to differentiate its offerings beyond its core CRM tools. "Cloud CRM is no longer a differentiator," for SalesForce, Mirandi says, noting the emergence of Oracle, SAP and other vendors attempting to grab their share of the market. In response, the company has, naturally and appropriately in TBR's opinion, attempted to extend its reach in the enterprise.

Salesforce.com spent more than a billion dollars over two years to purchase Radian6 and Buddy Media to create services aimed at marketing professionals to monitor and interact with customers through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It has a human resources cloud through its Work.com platform and its 2011 acquisition of Rypple. It's Force.com and Heroku Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings signal an effort to augment its SaaS business with cloud-based application development platforms.

[BUYER BEWARE: Salesforce outages show SaaS customers largely at "mercy" of providers]

These moves put Salesforce in a strong position, TBR believes, but it does create some new challenges. Most notably, it means the company is now competing against some companies it used to consider partners. Its HR platform competes with WorkDay, a former partner. SalesForce ChatterBox, a collaboration tool, is competing with Box, another one-time partner.

"For SalesForce and other public cloud pure plays, this maturation ... is grounded in the strategy that you can't be reliant on one offering for too long," says Allan Krans, another TBR analyst. Salesforce's ability to cross-sell these new platforms into its existing customer base makes the company a formidable player in the market though.

Amazon has made a similar transition with its Web Services division. Expanding outside of the company's core virtual machine (Elastic Cloud Compute or EC2) and storage (Simple Storage Service or S3) offerings, AWS has stretched into database management, software hosting and PaaS, with its Elastic BeanStalk tools. These offerings represent additional points of entry into developers and enterprises.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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