How Salesforce.com plans to stay high in the clouds

Salesforce.com co-founder Parker Harris discusses key product growth areas for the company, the challenges of innovating, and the future of development

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Page 2
Page 2 of 9

It's a small little project where the first thing is we do is embed with the customer. We try to understand not us, but them. What is your business? Where are your problems? Then we take our vision of the future and our technology and we play back a vision to them. We say: 'Here's a vision of what your future could look like.'

Marc [Benioff, CEO] would use an example of Eli Lilly, who is a customer, saying farming is going to change in the future and tractors are going to be enabled with devices and sensors. They're going to till the soil but they're going to understand what's in that soil and the farmer is going to have a mobile device and he's going to see there's an area of the field that needs attention. It needs different nutrients and, oh, I want to buy those. Now let me connect with a vendor. The vendor is going to send them to me. The vendor says they see the same thing because of drones. Some of it is far out there but the point is, let's have a vision together but then from that vision it's about a transformation. Let's figure out how some of our technology can fit in there with their existing technology because it's very important to us not to come in and redo everything.

When we started, we were salesforce automation only so we would come in and say: 'You've got Siebel for your call center? Awesome. Siebel is great for a call center. But we're great in salesforce automation so we'll integrate with that.' Now we take the call center, we take marketing but we're integrated with your back-end ERP, SAP and Oracle, sometimes Microsoft, fine. Don't replace those. Or, if you want, look at some of our partners on the AppExchange. Those are also valuable.

We take a customer view as opposed to a vendor view. We don't come in and say that you should use everything we have. Ultimately, we would love that from a revenue perspective, but we want to know what's going to work, where can you be successful because of that shared relationship. The business model is subscription so we only recognize revenue as we deliver success. The technology model is cloud and multitenant so I run it for you and if it's not working it's my problem. So it's that shared, symbiotic nature of our business model and our tech model that ensures customer success really.

In your last quarterly results, I think you said you were on a $6 billion run rate and the next step is $10 billion. When you look farther out, what does it take for a cloud company to get to be a $50 billion company? When does it get to be the scale of the big enterprise software companies today?

Harris: That's definitely where we want to go so we go to our customers and ask: 'Where shall we go?' Many people have said we just need to add more products. Look at Oracle, look at SAP. Add ERP and inventory or compensation. Add all this stuff. What we realized is we're the customer company. We're the front office solution and our customers would be really upset if we just added a whole bunch of stuff and lost focus. First of all, we have to make sure that we stay true to our CRM roots and transforming the customer relationship. Let's take the Analytics Cloud, for example, which is a new product that we launched at Dreamforce last year.

We could take analytics and think about it as this separate thing, that we're going to take over all of analytics and look at all the traditional vendors. Maybe eventually we could, but we're a very iterative company. We're not saying it's analytics for everything, we're saying it's analytics for understanding your CRM, analytics for understanding your relationships with your customers. That's where we're strong, that's where our customers are.

I can't tell you exactly the root to $50 billion, but what I can tell you is it will be through leveraging where we're strong and continuing to grow from that base and having our customers guide us. Since we've gotten into analytics, we had a lot of feedback from our customers, like: 'We want analytics in particular to not be just in the hands of the analysts. We want it to be in the hands of every user. We want it to be mobile.' I think we have one of the best implementations of a mobile analytics offering. We want it to be social and we want it to be deeply integrated so when you use our analytics you're authenticating with Salesforce. When you're looking at the data, it can come straight from CRM.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Page 2
Page 2 of 9