Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Great interview in today's WSJ (paid access) with Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.com who is talking about software being built on "platforms" yet again.

Thing is, I get what he's saying and buy it, big time. Two years or more ago, I was at a SF.com event where they first launched Dreamforce and had a long conversation with a sales guy there who didn't buy it. He told me he was focused on selling salesforce.com and that this new platform wasn't ready for prime time. In some ways, he was right - adoption never took off.

Today, it seems as if more and more companies are using web services and web based platforms for real, mission critical applications. Benioff points out in the interview that there are more than 20 companies now selling "software-as-a-service," up from only Salesforce just a few years ago. Now he's talking "platform-as-a-service." While he admits that this is a long process (perhaps 10 or more years to become mainstream) it's worth noting that the big boys (Microsoft, Oracle etc) are all now moving into this world as well. There seems to be a ton of momentum around this idea.

For non-profits (and others), I think it's time to think outside the box when looking at companies like Salesforce.com not just for their pre-packaged CRM solutions, but for their visions of the future as well. It's also time to start making sure that your existing vendor solutions are thinking about opening up their black boxes. As we all move further and further into this hyper-connected world you'll have to make sure that you can actually connect, swap data between systems, applications, partners and more.

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