Salesforce.com chief sees PAAS as
a broad development foundation.
Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO
Marc Benioff sat down for a conversation with eWeek editors
just after he introduced the company's new Force.com platform-as-a-service, or PAAS,
offering at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
The company widely seen as the standard-bearer for the SAAS
(software as a service) movement has continually evolved, to use a word Benioff
seems to favor. Moving from its early days as a CRM
(customer relationship management) vendor, Salesforce.com has created
AppExchange as an on-demand applications marketplace and developed a
proprietary language called Apex that allows customers to customize their
instances and integrate them with other applications, including on-premises
Allowing developers to compile code in its own cloud can be
seen as the next logical step for Salesforce.com as it tries to widen adoption
of applications delivered on demand in general and its own ecosystem specifically.
Providing ISVs and other partners with the tools and
infrastructure to build applications for App??ÃExchange expands Salesforce.com's
growing hegemony over the SAAS universe. It is also an olive branch to
enterprise IT departments threatened or locked out by the on-demand model by giving them the ability to create custom
integrations that might otherwise be outsourced.
eWEEK Executive News Editor Michael Hickins
and Senior Writer Renee Boucher Ferguson interviewed Benioff in San
Can you talk about the relative importance to Salesforce.com
of the various businesses and revenue streams you've developed, from your CRM
product through to App??ÃExchange and now PAAS?
We've really evolved as a company. ... And that is really our
vision-to become a multiapplication, multicategory company. We don't want to be
just applications. We want to be in the application business, which we are, and
we're very successful at that. And we want to be in the platform business, and
we are, and that's really an emerging business for us today. But I really
believe in the platform-as-a-service concept.
Where do you see your company five years from now? As an
application vendor or a platform vendor?
Yes. [Laughter] What we really see five years from now is
that Salesforce.com continues to be the leader in software as a service, just
as we have been for the last nine years. And we really want to define platform
as a service and be in the same leadership position-certainly in the enterprise
You know, there will be a lot of platforms as a service.
That's what I love about platform as a service-that it's another huge category,
just as you have software as a service, you have a lot of applications. ... I
think you're going to see consumer platforms emerge, and I think you're going
to have enterprise platforms emerge, as well.