The history of Salesforce.com tracks the evolution of cloud computing. Founded by Marc Benioff and Parker Harris in a San Francisco apartment at the 1999 peak of the dot com boom, today the company has over 100,000 customers with a market capitalisation of 21 billion dollars.
While founded as a sales Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) service, Salesforce’s range of products has extended across a number of other business functions such as business intelligence and customer support.
Dreamforce is the company’s international major conference which in 2012 is expected to attract 90,000 attendees to hear what is planned for the platform as they expand into new fields.
Along with Salesforce are 350 partners exhibiting their services that plug into Salesforce’s system. As we saw at the Xero conference, the community of developers and support companies are as important to a software company’s success as its products.
One of the notable things about Salesforce is the company’s hunger for acquisitions having taken over twenty-four companies in the last few years. It will be interesting to see how Salesforce are integrating those startups.
Salesforce are probably the company at the forefront at adopting social media into their products as seen with the acquisitions of companies like Facebook advertising platform Buddy Media and the Rypple social performance review service.
The move to mobile is changing how businesses interacts with customers, this is one of the challenges for Salesforce.
Just as Salesforce has tracked the rise of cloud computing, the company is now tracking the evolution of Big Data and social media.
The Dreamforce 2012 conference should give some insight into how the company, and other industries, are adapting to the challenges presented by the mobile web, big data and the social workplace.
Paul travelled to the Dreamforce conference courtesy of Cloudforce.