Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff doesn't think companies should be worrying about things like servers and security, software updates and web hosting. In a keynote speech at the company's Dreamforce conference today, he explained that those sort of things are what he and his company should be worrying about. Instead, companies should be focusing on ways to operate more efficiently, develop new ground-breaking technologies and grow their businesses - especially in this economy.
Sure, salesforce has its own applications that it can provide companies - but salesforce and its partners appear to be more focused on providing the tools that developers can use to create their own applications, those that can be customized to meet a company's specific needs.
In addition to the announcement of Force.com Sites, which enables the building and hosting of Web pages built on apps and data within salesforce, the company also announced partnerships with Amazon and Facebook to morph their platforms together. A company like Amazon brings cloud computing power, storage capacity and even payment-and-billing technologies. On stage at Moscone Center, the companies showcased an example of a business card input tool - using the camera of a cell phone - to add contact information into the salesforce database. Sure, that's a cool idea - but it's just one example. Instead, salesforce and Amazon are more excited about what developers will create in the future.
As for Facebook, the deal opens the social networking platform and social graph to incorporate salesforce apps into it - using force.com to make it look like any other Facebook page. The example the companies gave this time was a recruiting tool for Facebook. This particular tool allows employees to post job listings on their Facebook pages, where the job requirements are matched to the skills and experience of the employee's Facebook friends. With a single click, the employee can tell a Facebook buddy about a cool new job and tell the employer about a potential new employee. But again, Facebook says this is only one example. They're excited to see what else developers can create.
The message at Dreamforce is clear - No More Software. In his keynote, Benioff took some small jabs at Microsoft, which announced its own cloud computing platform called Azure, at its Professional Developers Conference last week. "I can't even pronounce it - Assure, Azune," he said, picking up some laughs from the audience. But more importantly, it further validates the cloud when the company that has the most invested in the software business - Microsoft - recognizes that the platform is moving into the cloud. Amazon has already said it, he said. So has Google, Facebook. IBM. That's the power of the cloud, he said, calling it a shared infrastructure or a multi-tenancy environment - sort of like an apartment building.
"It makes us more productive," he said. "We do the hard work while you do the innovation."