Dreamforce: Salesforce Welcomes ISVs to the Social Enterprise
Building on yesterday’s official unveiling of the Salesforce.com Social Enterprise strategy, CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff took the stage once more at Dreamforce for the second-day keynote to announce expanded ISV support for its enterprise cloud platform. The cornerstones of that play: the launch of the managed Heroku Enterprise PaaS offering, the general availability of Database.com, and the expansion of the Force.com application platform.
But before diving into the nuts and bolts of the Salesforce announcements, Benioff gave more lip service to the idea of the “Social Enterprise” itself, noting that Facebook apps are “eating the web.” Moreover, the number of Apple iOS and Google Android apps are only on the rise, with an ever-expanding enterprise market share. That led Benioff to ask the assembled Salesforce customers and partners a simple question: “How do you create your next-generation enterprise apps?”
To do that, he said, you have to leave behind yesterday’s approach to application building. Enterprise developers such as IBM and Oracle are stuck in the past, according to Benioff. But the future belongs to the developers who build on social, mobile platforms that provide real-time notifications and open standards. The phrase “delight the customer” was used by Benioff over and over.
Enter Force.com, which can be used to create an employee social network; Database.com, which can be used to create a social customer profile; and Heroku, which can be used to create a customer social network. Together, they help Salesforce.com “deliver the No. 1 enterprise cloud platform,” with 410,000 apps powered by Heroku and Force.com combined. And the AppExchange app store has 1,250 apps, and is worth $500 million overall.
Database.com and the Social Customer Profile
At this point, EVP of Platform, Marketing, and Operations George Hu took the stage to talk about how Database.com helps with building that social customer profile. The goal is to bring social customer data into your enterprise apps, and thanks to integration with the rest of the Salesforce platform, it’s easy to bring it in.
Hu reiterated Database.com has entered general availability, bringing the scalable database service that already powers the Salesforce cloud to the masses. In the 24 hours since Database.com went live, he said, more than 1,000 customers have provisioned databases. Dreamforce attendees must have had some energy left after the previous night’s Metallica concert, he joked.
The idea is to build applications that keep track of what the customer likes and “likes,” empowering employees to know exactly who they’re dealing with.
Force.com: Creating the Employee Social Network
Hu brought Facebook CIO Tim Campos on stage briefly to discuss how the social networking giant leverages Force.com to bring structure to unstructured data, before going back over some of the previous announcements: Chatter Connect, which brings Chatter social data into the Force.com application platform; touch.salesforce.com, the new Salesforce HTML5 mobile interface that helps ISVs make their applications portable; and new open APIs.
He then transitioned into discussing the newly announced Siteforce, a cloud-based content management system designed to help manage marketing websites. According to the press materials, developers can build sites with its drag-and-drop editor and users can quickly make edits. It’s designed to deploy and manage many sites.
Heroku: Building the Customer Social Network
Byron Sebastian, the CEO of Heroku before it was acquired by Salesforce earlier this year, then came on stage to extol the benefits of using the PaaS offering for building social, mobile apps. Sebastian noted 170,000 apps have been built on the platform, thanks to a groundswell of happy developers building buzz.
A key benefit of the platform is scalability, which Sebastian said goes from 10 to 10 million users. And there are 50 add-on developer services to expand the capability of your social applications. Moreover, applications built on Heroku are open and can be run on any system, ensuring maximum compatibility no matter where an application needs to live.
Warner Brothers was one such customer of Heroku, he said — a Salesforce ISV partner used Heroku to build a Facebook application for the entertainment company that enables thousands and thousands of users to rent and watch movies directly from the social network. It’s part of turning the social network into part of your application, he said.
Along those lines, Sebastian announced Heroku Enterprise Packages, which will bring the PaaS offering, 24/7 support, application monitoring, continuous deployment and elastic scaling to businesses for predictable costs starting at $4,000 per month.
CEO Benioff then took back the stage to announce a range of new Force.com-native AppExchange apps, including one from Talkin’ Cloud Stock Index member and employee spend management solution provider Concur. Concur’s solution, as explained by CEO Steve Singh, integrates Salesforce Chatter to collaborate on trips and track expenses, with functionality to capture expenses on mobile devices and tie those expenses to sales activities.
Benioff then ended his keynote by reiterating the point that delighting customers in the modern age requires new social tools.
Stay tuned to TalkinCloud for more updates and partner insights from Dreamforce.