Is treading water?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | September 24, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: The company's momentum is undeniable. But what's under the covers of its expansive vision?

Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett




Phil Wainewright

Phil Wainewright

Best Argument: No


Audience Favored: No (50%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Products we can't see or test

Dennis Howlett: is telling the world of its expansive vision but what's under the covers? At first blush you might think there is plenty to deliver on the company's transformational vision when in reality some big chunks of what they're claiming are more aspirational than products we can see and test. For instance, the marketing cloud is little more than a mish mash assembly of a few acquired products while the 'work cloud' is Rypple plus vaporware. Sure, the company is crushing it on sales force automation and field service; but as other vendors are quick to point out, these are point solutions that are often dependent upon third parties to deliver full value.

No sign of slowing down

Phil Wainewright: A questioner at last week's Dreamforce annual conference asked CEO Marc Benioff what has to do to get from $3 billion in annual revenues to beyond $10 billion. That the question did not seem absurd is a measure of's momentum. Can it continue to grow at 25 percent or more each year, even at such a size? I believe it can.

The hard-won success of Service Cloud demonstrates the company's ability to build strength in a new application sector alongside its sales automation core. It has now set its sights on building a similar business in digital marketing automation, while its new initiatives in performance management ( and collaboration (Chatter) open up additional markets with similar potential.

Neglected partners or poorly served customers may sometimes feel aggrieved as expands its footprint, but there's no sign of this 100-pound gorilla slowing its advance.


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  • Not really gonna join this conversation.

    Not really gonna join this conversation.

    Never used them, don't know anybody who does, to be honest.
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • Seriously CobraA1????

      I'd like to see the rock you're under. Their market share in CRM is huge. If you talk to anybody who has been in sales, they have at least heard of SalesForce, if not have used it themselves.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • I'm not in sales.

        "I'd like to see the rock you're under."

        No "rock." I'm just not in sales.
        Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
  • add?

    is this an add ?
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • Meh, they've talked about salesforce for a while.

      "is this an add ?"

      I'll assume you mean "ad" (advertisement), not "add" (addition). Try to pay attention to spelling, please. The spell checker doesn't catch everything.

      Regardless of whether it really deserved the attention, it's been one of ZDNet's favorite companies to discuss for a really long time. This is really nothing new.

      So - I'd say not any more than they've done in the past.
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
  • Single talk point as valuation, is it more dangerous?

    Salesforce has been pushing the social platform before the business market was ready to catch up. As technical CRM\BI admin\ architect as well as a user that has never worked for SF, I believe that the folks tend to over react after a Dreamforce event and take Salesforce's future messages to seriously. I am voting no because of all of the features that will actually get delivered to the users in the near future will be more advanced and user friendly than any average CRM out there. In the technical community, we worry so much about under the hood that we tend to forget the users. I think this debate should be open to folks who uses the tool to generate their income everyday. We depend on Salesforce social platform to communicate every day and are looking into using it to brand our company. The users are looking forward to the mobile platform that SF has announced since last DF. So, can they meet the growth expectation? Only time will tell but my vote is no, they are not treading water. Social enterprise has been their theme for 3 years now, so I don't believe a product who tries to mature their product is necessary treading water. Please do not correct my spelling errors and or other opinions that does not pertain to the debate. Get over the fact the workforce is getting younger and can no longer spell. And no, I am not one of the young ones but am willing to adopt and change instead of staying in the time I felt more comfortable with 20 years ago.
    Reply Vote I'm for No
  • It's good... for small things

    I've been working with this platform or whatever they call it nowadays for half a year.
    They do put a lot of emphasis in marketing, self promotion, but most of their tools are flawed or poorly documented. The simple things are good enough, the rest is just glitter.
    Reply 1 Vote I'm for Yes
  • It may be hype, but it's brilliant hype

    Full disclosure, I'm not a fan. Even more full disclosure, Benioff is a billionaire sw developer and I'm not. That said, SFDC is hype and overcharging. Bad, flat file db with difficult to execute table joins required to do what should be simple searches across entities (Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities). If you search for L'Oreal or Estee Lauder, you'd better use the accent, except in the front page search box where it's not required, but it is in the interior search boxes. If you want to add contacts to opportunities from within their account, get ready to search the entire db, again, flat file. User interface is unchanged since the 90's. Outlook integration costs extra. Offline version is abysmally bad and syncs poorly (as of 2010, anyway) Zoho, Capsule Sugar better for early stage companies with short $$ SalesLogix best large company solution I've seen (no, I don't work there) But, ill informed people start and end the conversation w/Salesforce. Marketing hype.
    Reply Vote I'm for Yes
  • External App integration is going to move Salesforce forward

    With the new ability to plug Java and .Net apps into the platform I suspect we will see many more new customers and deeper enterprise integration with existing cusotmers. SFDC is a phenomenal product when properly deployed. Configuration time is very low, performance is acceptable and maintenance costs are next to nothing compared to on-premise products. Now that it can integrate with existing apps there is really nothing in the way to stop its momentum.
    Reply Vote I'm for No
  • I am a big fat No!

    I am a part of the Community, so while somewhat biased towards the products offered by Salesforce, I would say I have always struggled with their partial development and release cycle. I would love to see a more closer to fully developed product than several release iterations until it is worthy of full adoption. This is where I can understand Dennis Howlett's antagonisms towards Salesforce's methodology in general. Let's be clear though they are crushing SFA and there is tremendous company support for the now coined philosophy, within and without the company, for True to Core. They are also crushing Service to Phil Wainewright's point. I have full confidence that Salesforce's recent addition of Marketing Cloud will see even greater momentum in both functionality and tangible sales. I am somewhat surprised that Dennis Howlett argues against vendor add-on's to bolster the functionality. As a reminder to who owned the rights for the name the App Store? Benioff did. Who was one of the very first to build an entire ecosystem out of the notion of a platform for vendor's to build upon, and who supports the partnership with those vendors to maintain this reciprocal relationship. So I am for No!
    Reply Vote I'm for No