Salesforce aims to surpass SAP

Salesforce believes that there are four key areas of growth that will drive the company to become a $20 billion organisation.

SAP may currently be the largest enterprise software applications provider, but Salesforce believes it won't last for too long.

Speaking to media at Dreamforce '14 in San Francisco, Keith Block, Salesforce vice chairman and president, said the company is working towards building a foundation that will set up the company for the future, and eventually enable it to surpass the size and success of SAP. The company reported last quarter that it had achieved a 38 percent growth, something which Block said is unprecedented in the technology market, because growth rates rarely go north of 30 percent.

"We want to be bigger than SAP, and we have the opportunity to pass them. We have our sights set on being a $20 billion company. We're currently now valued at $5 billion, and we think it's absolutely achievable," he said.

Block alluded to the idea that SAP is stuck being a provider of on-premises legacy applications, and that Salesforce's cloud service offerings are the future. He drew on how customers such as ABB and 3M have moved from SAP to Salesforce because they were facing complications with using SAP, and it's an opportunity that Salesforce hopes to take advantage of going forward.

"A lot of businesses using SAP are trying to break out of using it, and are turning to Salesforce," he said, highlighting that such shift is a testimony to Salesforce's technology. "We see that as an enormous opportunity of trying to take the data in those systems and turning them into systems of engagement."

Block continued, arguing that unlike SAP, where "transparency was a foreign word", Salesforce is all about being transparent, consistent, and predictable. He said this is the key differentiator for Salesforce compared to other companies in the market.

"When you look back at these legacy providers, you look back and learn from their mistakes. These are all successful companies with old technologies moving into our world, and we're the ones blazing trails. So we won't repeat the sins of the past," he said.

As for how the company plans to "shoot to number one", Block said that there are four key growth drivers: Product innovation; driving international expansion in key markets through resellers and establishing a "360-degrees" relationship with them; extending its partner ecosystem, particularly with consultancy firms including Deloitte, Accenture, and PWC; and tailoring its services specific to each industry by "speaking the language".