Isn't that just like customers? You celebrate a birthday and they're the ones who want a gift. In the case of salesforce.com, which is celebrating its 10th birthday today, the customers only want one thing: More.
At last week's SaaS Summit, Salesforce.com was mentioned frequently. But some of the biggest praises came from small- to medium-sized businesses, the ones who seem to have the most to gain from a full-fledged SaaS approach to doing business at this point in the game.
They like what they've seen in the last two years - just as the demands of business and the technology both have changed, so has Salesforce.com, they said. It's evolved, kept up with - and in some cases, even been ahead of - changing needs of a business, they said.
Rick Gouveia, a senior account executive with Data Domain, a data deduplication archiving service, said he's already using salesforce for many of his business operations. But it's not enough. He wants to use Salesforce for payroll services, to manage health care benefits, to deal with expense reporting and so on. He's been happy with the new services introduced by Salesforce over the years - most recently the web page hosting services using force.com - but he's looking for more.
The services from Salesforce.com, he said, has allowed his company to focus more on the task at-hand - meeting the data archiving needs of its customers - and worry less about the business of running a business.
Likewise, David Kavanaugh at Intacct, which provides financial software services for companies, said salesforce.com has become more of a platform for companies like his, a place to build and expand as his company's needs - and the needs of the customers - evolve.
It's worth noting that, during some of the panels, there seemed to be a recognized understanding that small- to medium-sized businesses would be the ones to benefit most from the opportunities provided through SaaS, PaaS or just plain cloud computing - whatever name you want to use.
SMBs can make decisions faster. They can deploy and implement faster. And they tend to gain more as the ability to grow and expand without the up-front investment of capital - from servers and other hardware to software licenses that may more of a waste when purchased too soon.
By using a Salesforce-type - or SaaS - solution, the SMB today has a better chance of survival because, if for no other reason, it allows the company to keep expenses in line with revenue growth as the company evolves.