Tag Archive for Software as a Service

Salesforce ready to take on Microsoft?

Salesforce, the leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) & Cloud Computing, is now officially the first enterprise cloud computing company to hit $1 billion in annual revenues.

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For the full fiscal year 2009, the company reported revenue of approximately $1.077 billion, an increase of 44% from the prior year. Subscription and support revenues were $984.6 million for the year, an increase of 45%, while professional services revenue rose 35% to $92.2 million.

This is a major achievement for both Salesforce as well as the Cloud Computing in general. With 55400 customers, 800+ applications, Salesforce expects a cool 30% growth on revenue this year as well!

Way back in early Jan, 2008 the CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff had mentioned “We’re working hard to become the first software-as-a-service company to reach $1 billion”. An event he predicted would happen sometime in Salesforce’s fiscal year 2009 and that has just been accomplished!

How Salesforce is able to this Miracle?

Is it because Salesforce is very innovative right from the beginning? Perhaps they understood quit early that the SaaS is the way to go. They understood that many enterprise users have been affected by the expensive on premises CRM suits with high operating costs to maintain. So, they offered a very easy to use and highly RM suits that customers loved. In addition to that they exposed their APIs to third party developers to integrate and collaborate.

Salesforce introduced a new concept Software development as a service via Force.com where Integrated Development Environment was via Browsers and connect to resources that are part of its Force.com’s platform. A cool idea.

Salesforce introduced Cloud Computing Architecture’s Development-as-a-Service, a long name for what is currently a repackaged Eclipse IDE that’s tied to Salesforce platform resources. The Force IDE is in “developer preview” with no delivery date other than later in 2008. Eclipse is an open source programmer’s workbench into which Eclipse-compatible tools may be plugged and used together.

The Force IDE lets the browser window serve for editing code, tacking errors, storing code in a change control system, or deploying it to servers. Their innovative idea of price per login etc have been highly successful.

Salesforce and Google Apps Alliance?

In Appril, 2008, they even partnered with Google Apps. With integration of Google Apps (Docs, Calendar, Gmail, and Gtalk) with Salesforce online enterprise apps, they are strategically placed to take on Microsoft. Google Apps got exposure to Salesforce’s one million paying business subscribers, and Salesforce in turn became more attractive to the “tens of millions” of business users on Google Apps. Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentation can be created from within Salesforce’s CRM application. GTalk works as the de facto instant messenger within Salesforce.

Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff mentions that he is embracing Google as another way to undercut Microsoft:

You’ve seen what we have been doing is slowly integrating all of our services with theirs. Certainly the enemy of my enemy is my friend, which makes Google my best friend. I have spoken with a lot of customers who want to get off of Microsoft Word.

With Salesforce for Google Apps, you can now run your favorite desktop applications and your Salesforce applications side by side by accessing Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Docs all seamlessly from within Salesforce.

Check this wonderful video demonstration by Salesforce here.

All these innovative ideas and alliances must have boosted Salesforce’s revenues and it is evident in the financial results.

Do comment on our view if you disagree!

Source: TechCrunch, InformationWeek and Salesforce

Open Source and SaaS are a great combination

Why Open Source SaaS will be the future?

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is becoming increasingly popular and vital to a business. In the recent times, Open Source software or open source development has greatly contributed to this trend. Open source has revolutionized the software business in enterprise, by dramatically lowering the cost of entry for software providers. Development tools and infrastructure components required to deliver software as a service are now mostly inexpensive or free. This has opened the software market to a much wider audience of developers who can now start companies and deliver their products for far less money than was required just a few years ago. In short, open source is making software cheaper in that it lowers barriers to entry and creates a more competitive market.

The greatest contribution of SaaS has been in tools like Google’s Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Apps etc which make collaboration cheaper and easier. It used to be that software was not released to the market until it was “ready;” however, SaaS products are typically developed in public long before they are formally released. SaaS Model exploits public beta testing and also could bring down your verification and quality expenses. This new mindset has been a significant change in the way companies develop software and it is the SaaS providers that have really lead this charge.

Real issue is, Enterprises are concerned with deployment times, and SaaS has certainly helped to reduce those.

Important thing to be noted is that SaaS is a fundamental shift in software delivery and that it will be the defining mechanism for delivering new software applications in the future. Open source is revolutionary, but not for the user as much as for the developer. The user wants simplicity, and SaaS provides that.

The paradigm shifts in computing history always is in the ease of use that change things. SaaS is a revolutionary deployment in the user’s access to powerful software. It will change everyone’s expectations about the complexity and accessibility of applications. That is what is revolutionary about it. Open source is a huge contribution to this shift, but mainly in its role as a development resource. It will not directly revolutionize user computing the way that SaaS will but it can be a great complement to SaaS. Most SaaS applications are developed using Open Source which makes them agile and cheap (or free in few cases).

There is already a trend, where SaaS and open source are coming closer or in fact they combine. This is a reality now. Best example is SugarCRM which is Open Source and available as SaaS.

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Most notably, open source software must be downloaded and installed and maintained on the user’s premises. But if Open Source software gets the value proposition of SaaS, that it does not need to be installed for or maintained by the user. People will get both the power of open source as well as the ease of SaaS.

Open Source should embrace the easy deployment of SaaS and people can get wonderful deals.

Open Source projects like Open Office should also be deployed as SaaS. Many a times, people like the scope of collaborative participation in SaaS and tend to use Online Office suits like Google Docs or Thinkfree. Even though, Open Office offers a lot more features, people may tend to ignore since it needs to be installed on theirs computers etc.

Top 10 Most Exciting Technologies of 2009

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Channel Insider 2009 Market Plus Survey, lists the top 10 technologies what Solution Providers are asking for. While the spending is under pressure in IT and businesses are looking at ways to contain costs these technologies really have them excited. Smart Phones is the top most technology of 2009.

Here are the top ten technologies that solution provider say are getting customers excited:

1. Smart Phones – Business users want more connectivity, app access and telephone in their palm. The demand is reflected by the number of vendors releasing new smart phones – Microsoft to Google to Palm. Smart Phones will remain red hot through 2009

2. Virtualization – as the cost pressure is mounting, every organization is exploring virtualization applications to increase efficiency and decrease cost.

3. Handhelds Devices – They range from PDA to ultra-lite computers to speciality devices. The common advantage is that they allow the user to perform business tasks while they are away from their desk, more better than the smart phone app.

4. Software-as-a-Service – SaaS is a product of reliable bandwidth and connectivity. The morden internet is making it possible to push feature-rich apps to the usres, through the cloud. It provides users regularly updated technologies often at a lower price than the conventional software

5. Business Apps – Business and productivity software – CRM, ERP, collaboration apps, office suites etc provide businesses greater operational efficiency and greater transparency.

6. Managed Services – as businesses find it more affordable, they are ready to delegate redundant tasks to Managed Service Providers and change their IT cost from capital expense to operational expense.

7. Wireless Networking – As more and more PCs, laptops and mobile devices are added to the network, there complexity around wireless network is increasing. Businesses wants flexibility and mobility and they are willing to invest in wireless infrastructure

8. Desktop/Notebook PC – This is not your traditional desktop or notebook. Thin clients, virtualized desktops and notebooks are the next wave for personal computing.

9. E-Commerce Apps – eCommerce is becoming more and more important as the retails are falling victim to turbulent eonomy. Retailers want online portals that can reach customers with greater effeciency. eCommerce solution has clearly demonstrated Return On Investment

10. Voice Networking – Customers are screaming for more voice networking solutions that can be integrated with their existing infrastructure. Voice Networking can save money over traditional telephone system and can reduce the management complexity for IT staff.

Do you agree with the Channel Insider 2009 Market Plus Survey?

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