The editorial “The future of Application Development” was written by myself, and the lead article “Cloud Computing – SaaS is winning recognition” was by Joachim Schreiner, SVP Germany Salesforce.com.
Some key messages of editorial and lead article were:
– a paradigm shift towards cloud computing will take place
– technology will evolve from client/server to java to cloud computing
– Saas will allow clients to drive innovation
– SaaS is more than than renting software over the web, and SAP has failed to understand what is going on
– Cloud centric companies like Salesforce.com, google and Amazon will continue to gain market share, while companies failing to transform (SAP) will loose it
– Safty first (trust) is a key asset for Salesforce to watch.
Today – 5 years later – every single message has turned into reality:
– SAP is still failing to understand cloud computing and SaaS. While Salesforce is promoting business value for end-users such as fast response time SAP is running campaigns about the Hana in-memory database. Can anyone explain a user should worry how much and what memory is behind the System that he is using. As a Salesforce user I am not interested if there is high memory or fast discs behind the speed of the api’s, as long as they deliver.
– let’s look at the SAP.com website as today. The title message is “SAP is more than a CRM solution – it put’s data to work in real time”. This message is clearly showing that SAP is eying Salesforce.com with fear. The claim “put data to work in real time” is however yet to be delivered. While Salesforce is delivering a first class real-time solution with Wave analytics SAP got another outdated technology with SAP BI (see next item)
– While SAP failed to sell the By Design solution on a larger scale, there is hundred thousands of Netsuite installations worldwide that virtually came out of nowhere. SAP really got to ask itself what is going wrong. 9 out of 10 BI projects in Germany are retirement projects where data warehouses based on SAP BI (also Oracle, Teradata) are being retired and replaced by Hadoop clusters. Talend has evolved as a global market leader in big data integration and is thereby making it’s way into the global 1000 enterprises. A Hadoop cluster can hold larger amounts of data by a fraction of the cost, compared to a data warehouse. Technologies like Talend or Apache Spark allow for real-time data analysis instead of over night
Points for Salesforce.com to improve in the future
– The weekest point of Salesforce.com is still the lack of any offline capabilities in the Salesforce1 solution
– The market demands for a more “private cloud” kind of deployment of Salesforce, where a client can licence a whole Salesforce instance instead of a single org. For example, governments would love to run Salesforce as a “government cloud”, but certainly not under the governance of Salesforce and under US law
– In order to penetrate the globally leading enterprises on a more permanent basis away from Sales and Service Salesforce.com has to put more emphasis on elemantary software engineering and enterprise features such as code management/separation, change management, deployment (in SAP called transports)
– For example: While packages are already a mechanism for separating code between packages and code inside an ORG, there is no mechanism for large organisations to organise and structure. Governor limit problems are a manifestation of this lack of separation capabilities. Even with tight governance standards large organisations tap into too-many/too-much kind of bottlenecks at critical objects. For large-scale enterprises it would be desirables to have separate libraries (similiar to packages) with separate governor limits within one ORG
– For example: Salesforce still uncapable of deploying 1:1 relationships between objects. Ever tried to program this using triggers? Why no better support/editors for invisible creation of juntion objects in n:m relationships? why no grand-children
– For example: Salesforce formula fields are fantastic, but why can they not cover all available field types ? It took Salesforce years to deliver boolean/checkbox as a formula field, why not also for email, phone (or even lookup fields) ?
Predictions for the future:
– As SAP failed to take over Salesforce when it was time (e.g. during the financial crisis Salesforce.com was worth just some few billions), SAP will become a target for the future
– Salesforce.com has possibly been threatened by takeover earlier this year and will have to judge it’s options
– Salesforce will take over SAP – not only as the third largest software enterprise – but also as a company. SAP is without doubt the world market leader in ERP business processes, and Salesforce.com is the world market leader in software development technology. A marriage of the two will create a monopoly in ERP space that can last for decades.