Web 2.0-style mashups to invade business

Salesforce.com chief predicts that 'everything will be a service' in the near future

The Web 2.0-style innovations adopted by companies including Google and Yahoo in the consumer space will soon be invading the business software market as well.

The work done by these companies in terms of hosted applications and "mashup" combinations of applications is now being taken up by business users, according to Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive of on-demand customer relationship management software company Salesforce.com.

He said these hosted or "multi-tenanted" applications are moving in on the turf of the "high priests of business software".

Benioff said: "Soon everything will just be a service, business email or your PBX, all your business apps. It's already affected us in our homes and now these multi-tenanted services are going to pervade your business. It's not just one idea, it's not just one provider."

Speaking today at a customer event in London, he said: "They really set the stage for the opportunity we have today — it's the Google and Yahoo and eBay — they did the heavy lifting."

Benioff highlighted Salesforce.com mashups with Google Maps and Skype as part of this process. And — paraphrasing Isaac Newton — he said his company had got to the stage it was at because "we are standing on the shoulders of giants".

He added: "Venture capitalists aren't funding software companies anymore — you have to come up with a concept of Web 2.0 and that is a leading indicator that the future is on-demand."

At the event Benioff previewed the "Winter '07" release of the company's software which will allow customers to create or add components that analyse and present data — so called "mashboards".