Nov 232013

“I don’t want to use a laptop again,” Marc Benioff told the closing Dreamforce 2013 customer Q&A. “The desktop remains the biggest security threat to corporations — it’s a nightmare. The PC and laptop we never designed to be connected to a network.”

Benioff was walking his talk in promoting his company’s Salesforce One mobile platform, claiming at the Dreamforce conference opening that he hadn’t used a PC or laptop or nine months as he’s moved over to tablet and smartphone apps.

That push to move the company and its customers onto mobile services was emphasised by Peter Coffee, Salesforce’s Vice President for Strategic Research.

“Your mobile device is no longer an accessory,” says Coffee. “It’s the first thing you reach for in the morning and it’s the last thing you touch at night.”

Salesforce’s push into into the post-PC market follows Google and Apple’s lead, much to the distress of Microsoft and its partners.

“We saw the phenomenal engineering work of Scott Forstall at Apple and the visionary work of the late, great Steve Jobs,”  Benioff told his cutomers at the final Dreamforce Q&A. “When we saw the iPhone we sat up and thought ‘wow, what are we going to do about this?'”

“This is a paradigm shift, we’re moving from the desktop world to the mobile phone world and then of course we saw the iPad world emerge and that amplified it.”

Salesforce’s impressions were shared by much of the business community as senior executives, board members and company founders quickly embraced the first version of the iPad, which on its own triggered the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend in enterprise computing.

In a mobile age, Benioff now sees three key priorities for Salesforce; “we want to be feed first, we want to be mobile first and we want to be social first.”

Regardless of Benioff’s vision, not everyone will go mobile which is something that Peter Coffee acknowledges.

“The laptop will occasionally be used to author creative work like a presentation or to deal with something that needs a large screen like pipeline analysis,” says Coffee.

Marc Benioff though is adamant. “Honestly I don’t ever want to use a laptop again,” he told his audience.

It will be interesting to see how many business leaders follow him in abandoning their desktops and portable computers as the post-PC era of computing develops.

  2 Responses to “Becoming an all mobile executive”

  1.      Why are so many people constantly promoting the idea that traditional computers are almost dead? I wouldn’t like to try writing a novel – or even a longish e-mail – on a tablet or mobile phone! And I wouldn’t regard those as even nearly marginal or niche activities. I am not aware of any substitute for, or alternative to, the traditional keyboard that seems acceptable.
         And why would anyone want to abandon a traditional screen with all its space for a book-sized tablet screen, or a postage-stamp-sized mobile phone screen? – apart from convenience considerations that in some cases might absolutely force this. But, apart from exceptional situations that compel the regular use of small devices, it doesn’t make sense to me. Wouldn’t this be a bit like deciding to abandon sleeping in your bed and taking to sleeping in the broom cupboard instead?
         Perhaps I’m missing something, and making it obvious that I am missing it by my very comments themselves. But in that case, the advocates are *not* explaining the point, not making it clear. Someone, please tell us the compelling reasons why all these so-tiny devices should become the norm, in spite of their totally obvious limitations and inconveniences.

    • I think it’s executives like Benioff, who can hire assistants for doing the mundane jobs of converting a dictated recording into a larger email/report, that don’t need the conveniences of better keyboards and larger screens.
      But for the majority of people the convenience of a proper tool for each job still includes laptops and even desktops.
      Love your analogy of a bed compared to the broom cupboard: I wouldn’t trade my kingsize bed (“desktop”) with a sleeping train bed cot (“mobile”) at home, just because this cot is the highest convenience available during long distance trips.

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