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CloudForce: Benioff talks Cloud 2 and eyes new nemesis

9th Sep 2010
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CloudForce London saw Cloud firm declare war on a new enemy – and proclaim that the Cloud has become dated.

CloudForce London saw Cloud Computing giant declare war on a new enemy aside from software – and proclaim that the Cloud has become dated.

Despite the tube strike forcing a late rescheduling of the London jamboree, attendees packed out the capital's Royal Festival Hall to hear from a host of customers and execs. Unsurprisingly it was CEO Marc Benioff's keynote that proved the biggest draw as he proposed to customers that he would show them that "there is a door that we can all walk through into the future of computing".
What won't lie on the other side of the door according to Benioff, however, is Cloud Computing – or at least, Cloud Computing mark one. The reason for this, he suggested, is the phenomenal impact of social networking. And to put this into context, the CEO took the audience back to the original inception of
"In 1999, right before I started I was at Oracle and I was using my PC with the cathode ray tube monitor, I had my mouse, and I was using clicking on the tabs and just loving it. And I said to myself why isn't all enterprise software like Amazon – I didn't install it, I don't have to upgrade it, it is changing every day, this thing is fantastic! So that's why I quit my job and started to make this CRM suite that looked like
"But today in 2010 it is different and I say why isn't all enterprise software like Facebook, because I'm using Facebook every day - I'm communicating, I'm buying things, I'm sharing information, letting people know where I am... It is amazing. And the paradigm is so compelling – with the stats updates, and the feeds and profiles, and speed and how it works on my iPhone so well. So why isn't all enterprise software like Facebook?
"And it's scary because we were working making our enterprise software to look like Amazon and now the whole industry has changed. I call it the Facebook imperative. The world is changing from Cloud 1 to Cloud 2."
The most important trend
Robin Daniels, director of product marketing at, elaborated on the nature of Cloud 2. "The first generation of Cloud services was all about bringing Cloud Computing technologies to the business, that was low cost, efficient, productive, and easy to implement," he explained. "But the new generation of Cloud services – Cloud 2 – is inherently social and mobile and collaborative, delivering information that you need to do your jobs better to you in real-time, no matter where you are."
Describing Cloud 2 as "the single most important trend in computing today", Benioff said that because of the changes in how people are accessing the internet and the changes in what people are doing on the internet, had been making dramatic, fundamental changes over the last 24 months - the results of which customers have had access to for the last 90 days or so. And in Sales Cloud 2, Service Cloud 2, believes it has the solutions for the sales and service teams of the future.
"For sales organisations it is now impossible to stay on top of everything," said Kraig Swensrud, SVP of the Cloud firm as he provided an exhibition of Sales Cloud 2 in action. "But Cloud 2 shows us a better way to collaborate. Companies like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube have invented a new paradigm of status updates and profiles and feeds, so at we said 'how can we have sales collaboration just like Facebook?' But we also knew that the most important thing that you care about is that it has to be private, secure and trustworthy. And that is what we stand for – Cloud salesforce automation that looks like Facebook and it is built for your sales organisation."
Next up, Alex Dayon, EVP of CRM, gave Service Cloud 2 a twirl. "The customer service world was stuck in old technology and designed 15 or 20 years ago, and in fact most customer service technology solutions were frozen, and the products were designed for a world where the only channel was the phone. But what do you do when you have a customer service issue? Do you phone first? Or do you Google it to see if someone else has had the same problem? That is the new world of customer service. So there has been a transition from a phone-based interaction to a much more complex world.
"The Service Cloud is about implementing your core business processes and making them available at each of the customer touchpoints, whether that is in the Cloud or in a community, we enable our customers to implement once and deploy in every customer touchpoint to amaze their customers to deliver a superior customer experience."
Jewel in the crown
In other Cloud 2 news, Benioff also declared that as part of the overhaul, all apps were now Cloud 2 apps. But the centrepiece of Salesforce's new drive is without doubt the collaborative tool Chatter, which the company views as the jewel in the crown. The CEO admits that it was so central to the company's new thinking that it required the other products to be re-engineered around it.
Hailed as the most successful product launch in's history, Chatter has already been adopted by around a quarter of the company's customer base. And one reason for its runaway success, it was suggested, is that it finally provides an antidote to the curse of the modern enterprise – email. Yes, not content with ridding the world of software, now has a new nemesis. And while the Cloud firm admits that email won't be vanquished entirely, it is confident that reliance on it can be significantly pared back.
Research by OnePoll, commissioned by the Cloud firm to coincide with CloudForce, demonstrates the misery being inflicted on workers by email overload, with seven out of ten employees complain about being overwhelmed by irrelevant emails. Also revealed by the study, however, is the growing value of social media in the workplace, with three-quarters of respondents under 35 saying that they get some business benefit from the information they get from social media.
"We need a new way to work, and the reason is because the old way of working is broken," said Daniels. "If you look at all the tools that we give to our information workers today – like Lotus Notes and Outlook – they are not user empowering tools. These tools force the end user to go do all the work. You as an end user have to go to the internet, you have to go to the file server, you have to go to the FTP site, and find all this information and put it all together in a way that makes sense to do your job. And that's not the way that the new generation of Cloud services work. The new generation really pushes information to us that we care about. Facebook and Twitter pushes information that we care about to us.
"We introduced Chatter to solve this issue of information overload and it is based on Facebook, but for business. And the reason we chose that model is because everyone knows how to use it already. There are half a billion users in the world who know how to use Facebook."
And with announcing the launch of Chatter Mobile at CloudForce, as well as Marc Benioff's indication that Chatter analytics work was underway, the Cloud player seems confident that it has the product to take it through the door to the future of computing.
Trash talking
Of course, Benioff also found time for a little trash talking. "Beware the false Cloud," he announced as a cheeky image of a Cloud sticker peeling back to reveal an Oracle logo flashed on the screen behind him. "The false Cloud isn't efficient. It's not economical. It's not democratic, it's not the same for small, medium and large companies. It doesn't have low CO2 emissions. It's a false Cloud and they are just marketing the name because we're doing so well."
However, speaking to assorted press later in the day, Benioff concluded that his company's latest direction would inevitably be imitated by the competition – and suggested they would in fact be wise to do so.
"What we're seeing is not going to be unique to The status updates, feeds, profiles, groups... this is going to be in all software. We may be the first, we may be very fast, but we are going to see this as the consistent user interface in all software products from all companies, whether they are old on-premise companies trying to hang on by a limb, like a Lotus, IBM, or something like that or a modern company like us. They will move to these kinds of UIs because Facebook has trained a billion users in a better collaboration model. So if you are a CEO of a software company and you're not working on this, and you guys go to these conferences and events and you don't see all these user interfaces look more and more similar to ours over the next two years then I think those software companies' CEOs are just not paying attention to the market and what customers and users are using."
Benioff added: "If you are paying attention then you are moving your company to where the users are because that's how you stay competitive, that's how you become relevant, that's how you become a market leader. So everyone has to move to this. What we have been talking about today is the Cloud, social and mobile, those three tenets. And if every software company is not moving to that then I think they are going to be very unhappy with their revenue growth rates over the next 24 months – and I know a lot of them aren't happy now so they are going to be even more unhappy."

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