While Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff's bold remarks about the "end of software" may not have gone down too well with his larger enterprise software rivals, it is undeniable that software-as-a-service has been making waves across the industry.
According to Gartner, the SaaS share of new business software revenues will grow from 5 percent in 2005 to 25 percent by 2011. Even the larger players like SAP and Oracle have beefed up their application portfolio with on-demand products, though with differing approaches.
There is still room for the on-demand model to grow, however. Most SaaS deployments are largely restricted to sales force automation and CRM (customer relationship management). To expand the portfolio of applications and tools that can be consumed on demand, Salesforce early this year launched the AppExchange platform for software partners to distribute their applications through Salesforce's hosted-computing platform.
In the second quarter this year, Salesforce's subscriber base reached 500,000 for the first time, while chalking up revenues by 64 percent over the previous quarter to US$118 million.
Salesforce.com ranks among ZDNet Asia's Top 10 fastest-growing companies for 2006/07.