Salesforce.com's annual Dreamforce event is coming up in just a few weeks, but during Thursday's second-quarter earnings call, CEO Marc Benioff couldn't help but share some of the big announcements the cloud software vendor has planned for the show.
Human nature: Benioff reaffirmed the already expected news that Salesforce.com will feature Work.com, its entry into human-resources software, during Dreamforce. But he also clarified Work.com's positioning with respect to established cloud HR software vendors, namely Salesforce.com partner Workday.
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Workday co-CEO Aneel Bhusri will appear at the show, and "you'll see how we are working hard to integrate with them to deliver a full HR suite to our customers," Benioff told analysts during the call. Salesforce.com will also showcase an integration between its Chatter social collaboration software and Workday.
Work.com, which is based on Salesforce.com's acquisition of Rypple, tackles just a small slice of the human-resources pie, focusing on employee performance and reviews, done up in a Facebook-style milieu.
It remains to be seen what next steps Salesforce.com takes in HR from a product perspective, but additional moves seem inevitable given the vendor's ambitious growth plans. While its core CRM (customer relationship management) software is popular, such applications have only a limited footprint within companies, whereas HR software can reach, and therefore be licensed for, every worker in an enterprise.
Or maybe not.
"I think that Salesforce.com may have taken a hard look at what's involved in building out a robust [HR] offering -- architecturally in terms of what enhancements would be needed to their platform, in terms of subject matter expertise they'd need to acquire and sustain, what it means to be taking on compliance and globalness -- as well as what would be involved in competing directly with Workday, and have decided that this isn't something that makes sense for them given their growing emphasis on being a platform play," said HR software analyst Naomi Bloom, managing partner of the consulting firm Bloom & Wallace.
HTML5 feels fine: Benioff also revealed Thursday that Salesforce.com is doubling down on HTML5 as a user interface and development standard.
"At Dreamforce, we're going to go into general availability pilot on our core salesforce automation application running in HTML5, on multiple devices," Benioff said. Salesforce.com will also deliver tools that enable customers to build services in HTML5, he added.
HTML5 will also be part of Salesforce.com's core applications, Force.com and Heroku development stacks, and Site.com website building service, he added.
Marketing is the next market: Salesforce.com's recent $689 million acquisition of Buddy Media was a strong hint that the company intends to be a player in next-generation marketing software. At Dreamforce, showgoers will see a formalized view of the company's strategy, dubbed the Salesforce.com Marketing Cloud, according to Benioff.
Marketing is Salesforce.com's "next $1 billion product line in the making," he said during the conference call.