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10/5/2007
07:27 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
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Notes From DreamForce: Salesforce Defines SaaS

What Salesforce.com has done is extend its reach from applications on-demand to platform-on demand, meaning you can leverage existing applications, processes and services as well as a platform hosted by Salesforce for development, integration, database and user interface design and deployment, all on a subscription-based platform... Clearly, Salesforce.com will have the largest impact of any vendor in the emerging platform-on-demand space.

I spoke at Salesforce.com's recent DreamForce event on the topic of SOA on demand. I've held back on writing about the event because I wanted to check out other blogs covering the event and attempt to aggregate the analysis here. First of all, the SaaS space is pretty easy to define. It's Salesforce.com and, with the possible exception of NetSuite and RightNow, a bunch of other little guys. The event was huge, with more than 7,000 users, partners, press and analysts, up from fewer than 5,000 a year ago. Get the trend here?What I found most interesting was the number of partners. Salesforce.com has created a technology space all its own, a platform that many startups - multi-million dollar companies unto themselves - are dependent upon. It approaches Microsoft and IBM in influence in the industry, perhaps surpassing them in some areas.

The focus of the event was Salesforce.com's introduction of its new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), called force.com. Force.com is an extension of the development toolkit and Apex code Salesforce.com has offered to its customers and partners for the past year. The company also introduced a user interface on-demand solution, visualforce. We've discussed this notion here, but now it's a reality.

What Salesforce.com has done is extend its reach from applications on-demand to platform-on demand, meaning you can leverage existing applications, processes and services as well as a platform hosted by Salesforce for development, integration, database and user interface design and deployment, all on a subscription-based platform. While not the first to try these things, clearly Salesforce.com has come up with something comprehensive, and it will have the largest impact of any vendor in the emerging platform-on-demand space.

The DreamForce conference proved the company's ability to continuously iterate its corporate capabilities and accompanying marketing messages to dominate SaaS industry mindshare. Salesforce.com will indeed make sure it puts enough marketing bucks and influence into PaaS to drive it to a successful state. Customers get on-demand, and virtually anything that can be run on a server within the enterprise can be delivered on-demand, for a fraction of the cost. Also notable is that executives that were once suspicious of SaaS and other on-demand technologies are changing their minds… albeit slowly. As a service provider, I get a call a day about SaaS and the enterprise, mostly seeking strategic directions. It is strategic if you ask me.What Salesforce.com has done is extend its reach from applications on-demand to platform-on demand, meaning you can leverage existing applications, processes and services as well as a platform hosted by Salesforce for development, integration, database and user interface design and deployment, all on a subscription-based platform... Clearly, Salesforce.com will have the largest impact of any vendor in the emerging platform-on-demand space.

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