Salesforce.com customers 'get' the potential of Cloud Computing and social media, but many still struggle to achieve the maximum return on investment (ROI) as they make the move into the Cloud.
Cloud consulting firm Bluewolf surveyed 300 Salesforce.com customers for its first The State of Salesforce report and discovered that 44% percent of Salesforce.com customers are embracing both Cloud and social. But the firm also encountered a lack of Cloud governance good practice that means they fail to achieve the full potential ROI from their investments.
Bluewolf identified several key trends, including:
- Many companies are moving toward becoming a social organisation by integrating their customer service applications with Salesforce.com.
- Social media and mobile are coming together to help deliver on the productivity promise of Cloud technology, as workforces become progressively more mobile.
- Companies increasingly are utilizing resources that can be “turned on” as needed, rather than hiring or training full-time staff.
- Companies are struggling with who owns the budget for ongoing Salesforce innovation: the business or IT?
- Despite a strong launch, Chatter adoption has yet to explode
- The majority of customers expect to maintain or increase their budgets for ongoing Salesforce.com innovation through 2013.
Based on the research findings, Bluewolf has come up with some key recommendations:
- Companies must iterate their employee engagement strategies to accelerate Cloud and social adoption.
- Executives need to understand that at its core, social is about helping teams sell more, engage customers and drive demand.
- Employers need to provide incentives to drive adoption, and executives must have easy access to essential information.
- Companies must adopt a solid cloud governance strategy.
Commenting on the findings, Sue Goble , Bluewolf's general manager international (and a former Salesforce.com staffer herself), says: “What customers are telling us is that they are clearly interested in the social elements, but the challenge is how they get there,” says Goble . “Really it comes down to practicality and doing things step-by-step. It is an evolution.
“It’s also about training,” she adds. “You get people like me who are 50 and for whom social media is something that their children use. It is such a great medium for collaboration and communication. In implementations we’ll often use Chatter to help with the collaboration aspects. It’s an easy way to do it, layering in Chatter as a basic first step.”
While the survey found that while its maximum potential might not be being achieved, there is clearly deliverable ROI on offer. “There is no question that customers are getting ROI,” says Goble . “Customers need to start somewhere. It’s a journey. We are seeing more and more large roll-outs. What is needed is on-going investment. You do get customers who do an IT project by getting an IT team and putting a budget to it. Then the budget is spent and IT team moves on and the project stagnates. It has to live and breathe and that means on-going investment.”
As for the adoption question, Goble believes both business and IT firmly 'get' the Cloud. “We do still see that companies we work with will have had some Salesforce.com in the organisation – it’s an easy app to understand from a business perspective and so it gains business traction much more easily and gets into the mainstream,” says Goble. “And CIOs are now much more educated about the possibilities of the Cloud. They can see the benefits and understand the possibilities.”
Most Bluewolf customers also use a ‘best of breed’ approach to Cloud applications, making Cloud-to-Cloud integration a new challenge. “Not very man of our customers do just one Cloud,” she says. “You have Netsuite and Financialforce coming up on the finance side and Marketo and Eloqua on the marketing side for example. So it’s about making all the Cloud applications work together.”