Last week 7,000 Dreamforce 2007 attendees pondered a week chock-full of significant announcements. This week we'd like to share our observations, based on discussions with salesforce.com's enterprise customers and prospects, as well as industry CIOs and thought leaders. We hosted over 400 of them, along with their sales executives from Google and salesforce.com, at our Innovators Mixer at San Francisco's Bong Su restaurant on Tuesday night (photos). Appirio CEO Chris Barbin also joined 150 industry leaders in salesforce.com's "Executive Track" session, so we heard lots of interesting ideas. Three common themes emerged:
- Scale Has Arrived - Salesforce.com previously had a reputation for being stuck in the mode of small pilots, mostly rolling out to only single divisions in larger companies. This has clearly changed and the pace of large rollouts is increasing. Medium and large enterprises are betting on global rollouts of Salesforce and Google Apps on the order of 10,000-20,000 seats, with some over 50,000 seats. The success of huge deployments at Merrill Lynch, Cisco, Dell, Japan Post, and Aon are creating serious buzz. This "big thinking" is enabled by the new Force.com end-to-end platform for on-demand application development, and the huge momentum of Google Apps. CIOs are, increasingly, debating not "if," but "how and when" they will dramatically change their IT stacks through on-demand.
- iGoogle, Where SaaS Comes Together - The awareness of Google as an enterprise SaaS player is starting to grow. Dreamforce attendees pried for additional detail on Google Apps, iGoogle, and Google Gadgets. They see Salesforce as the role model for ease of deployment, and are intrigued by Google as the next big enterprise SaaS player. At Appirio's Innovators Mixer, over 100 customers of Google Enterprise and salesforce.com networked to share stories. The industry analysts and influencers are catching the buzz too - Jason Maynard from Credit Suisse, Chris Hoffman from TripleTree, and executives from SuccessFactors, Cornerstone On-Demand, MarketTools, forceAmp, and Serena Software talked about integrating iGoogle and Google Apps with salesforce.com and other leading SaaS solutions.
- Here Come the Developers - Salesforce.com's developer community is catching fire. It was obvious at Dreamforce by the number of technical attendees and developer-oriented sessions. At the "Platform State of the Union" address, Adam Gross,salesforce.com 's VP for Developer Marketing, announced huge increases in sign-ups for the Apex Developer Network (ADN). The quality of the technical content and the constant crowds around the "Developer Lounge" confirmed that momentum in the developer community is at an all time high. ADN's featured content includes Google Gears, Adobe Flex, Ajax, and the Apex Eclipse Toolkit. Simillarily, the Google Mashup Editor, the Gadgets API, and Google Code are reinforcing Google's stong appeal amongst all types of developers.
Salesforce.com's new announcements around VisualForce, Ideas, Content, and other upcoming features will be put to the test now by over 900,000 subscribers. With the growing delta of capabilities, innovation and business impact between legacy on-premise solutions and SaaS solutions, we are seeing salesforce.com turn the corner towards pushing companies to "go big" and actually rip-and-replace stale on-premise software. Interesting times ahead.
Appirio is offering a 1/2 day "What's Possible with Google Applications" workshop next month in our San Mateo office at the salesforce.comIncubator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Industry Innovators from salesforce.com, Triple-Tree, Google, and Appirio were just a few of the guests at Appirio's On-Demand Mixer