Keeping Customers Happy
What does Benioff see as his highest priorities now, as Salesforce.com and its sidekicks Force.com (the development platform for ISVs), Service Cloud and Chatter.com move through 2011 and into 2012? "No. 1, we're focused on keeping our customers happy," Benioff said. "We're delivering half a billion transactions a day to our customers. Last quarter we delivered something like 30 billion transactions. "That means the database is more important than ever. That's why we've launched Database.com, a proven database for more than a decade. Our customers are looking to us more and more to lower their database costs. You'll hear more about that soon.""When we started, I spent about $250,000 and four months building our CRM application," Nazar said. "When I started using Salesforce for an additional part of the system, I realized I could have built the entire system on Salesforce. Now we use it for most of what we do."
One of the customers that's happy with Salesforce.com is the Waypoint Real Estate Group in Oakland, Calif., a startup that buys foreclosed homes and re-leases or rents them-often back to the former owners. CTO Ali Nazar told eWEEK that though he could have built his company's intricate system of property-tracking and financial applications another way, he could not have done it with the speed and cost efficiency he achieved with Salesforce.com.
What's Next?So what's next? "Every company is going to have an enterprise social network," Benioff said. "Chatter [an internal, secure Facebook-like service for enterprise networks] is really a stream of information that can be captured by proprietary UIs like ours, but we want to have it available as a REST [representational state transfer] API, so that every social network can participate in Chatter. "Chatter now has over 80,000 paying customers, which makes it by far the largest enterprise social network in the world. Companies like Symantec and BMC are using it because you can see people working and collaborating in a new way." Chatter now is starting to be used in supply chains, with enterprises sharing certain types of nonproprietary information with their partners and resellers, Benioff said. "They're starting to use Chatter in everything," he added. "Vendors, suppliers, partners, customers-they all will begin to participate in these feeds. "For example, we have a private version of Chatter for all the customers who attended DreamForce [Salesforce.com's annual conference], which is a big laboratory for us. You can learn a lot about us by using it."