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Salesforce.com pins growth hopes on industries, wants to be bigger than SAP

Chris Kanaracus | April 3, 2014
Salesforce.com is betting that a push into industry-specific versions of its cloud-based software can help it maintain its breakneck pace of growth, and even usurp SAP as the industry's largest enterprise application vendor.

Salesforce.com has engaged in similar rhetoric toward SAP in the past, such as its 2011 announcement of consulting and integration services aimed at "unlocking" SAP systems to create "social enterprises."

SAP reported €16.82 billion (US$23.15 billion) in revenue during 2013, compared to Salesforce.com's $4.07 billion in its fiscal 2014 ended Jan. 31.

While Salesforce.com has said it expects to reach $5.3 billion in revenue during its current fiscal year, it still has a long way to go to catch up with SAP. It also hasn't been generating a profit, whereas SAP reported €4.5 billion in operating profit during 2013.

Still, in an interview Block affirmed his belief that Salesforce.com can eventually be bigger than SAP. "There's no reason why we shouldn't pass SAP," he said. He declined to put a time frame on when that day will come.

Nor would Block directly respond to a question about why Salesforce.com isn't name-checking say, Oracle, which is also a sizable applications vendor.

"SAP is the largest enterprise apps company," he said. "It's logical for us to set our sights on them."

An SAP spokesman responded by email Wednesday to Block's statements.

"We are winning because we have the most complete cloud solutions portfolio and because customers want innovation that is easy to consume -- and integrated to the SAP solutions they already run on premise," he said. "This is why we have the largest number of cloud enterprise application users in the world -- over 35 million people in the SAP Cloud."

Competitive chest-bumping aside, Block's comments could foreshadow new customer-migration efforts or discount programs aimed at luring SAP customers into the Salesforce.com fold.

 

 

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