Salesforce.com announced the development of a social networking platform called Chatter at its Dreamforce conference last week. This is an interesting example of the rise of social computing as a factor in cloud integration enterprise architects should pay attention.
Salesforce is a bellwether for the growing momentum of cloud computing
The Dreamforce event played to a packed house a sign of the growing momentum of both Salesforce as a company and the cloud computing movement. Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive, was predictably upbeat about the numbers;19,000 registrations for the San Francisco event, strong third-quarter financial and customer growth, and a projected annual revenue result of $1.3 billion. Benioff claimed that 70,000 organisations now use Salesforce solutions, ranging from small businesses through to global corporations with more than 150 customers having over 1,000 subscribers.
If Salesforce is a bellwether for the cloud computing revolution then momentum is surely building, and moving up market into the enterprise arena.
Cloud platform integration is morphing from a weakness to a strength
One of the often cited reservations of enterprise CIOs regarding the cloud computing model is integration. SaaS is fine for point solutions like Salesforce for CRM but we need fully integrated solutions is a comment that we often hear when discussing cloud computing with our enterprise clients.
Salesforce has moved steadily away from its origins as a provider of point CRM-as-a-service solutions. The offering now includes three main platforms: Sales Cloud to support customer and partner relationship management activities; Service Cloud to support call centre and customer self-service activities; and Custom Cloud the force.com application development and hosting platform, reportedly hosting 135,000+ applications.
Integration across these cloud platforms is improving and is starting to become a strength, rather than a weakness, of the Salesforce offering. Customer case studies published by Salesforce reveal a surprisingly compelling integration story. Many enterprises of significant size and global scale are deploying integrated cloud and on-premises applications to support core business processes.
Chatter is about social integration as well
One of the major announcements at Dreamworks was Chatter a social computing collaboration platform. Chatter, launching in 2010, will offer what we now regard as the standard enterprise 2.0 functionality of profiles, status updates from people and activities, groups and feeds. Chatter will provide a social computing layer across the Sales, Service and Custom clouds and is planned to integrate with other market social computing platforms.
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