When someone says "the cloud," the first example people usually think of is Amazon. Likewise, when someone says "software as a service," the first example is most often Salesforce.com.
It's like Xerox and copiers, Kleenex and tissue paper, or Coca-Cola and soft drinks. It takes an extraordinary market presence—not to mention staying power—to become the preeminent enterprise in a specific sector.
Salesforce earned its high-recognition place at the table in about seven years; Amazon did so for its Web services business in even less time. That speaks volumes about the power and influence of those two companies.
Salesforce grew into the most influential software-as-a-service company to date. This San Francisco-based company has planted its stake in the ground for being ahead of its time and as such is historically significant in the world of IT.
It made CRM a commonly used and recognized term and is now moving headlong into social networking (Chatter.com) and platform-as-a-service software (Force.com) as its next major initiatives.
It's a software services company, reliant completely on big data centers and heavy-duty hardware and software, whose tagline is "The End of Software."
At a time before broadband networks became common, Salesforce showed the enterprise world that IT services and sales tools didn't have to be contained within the walls of a data center, and that sensitive business data could become portable and secure at the same time. It demonstrated that in-the-field employees didn't need to carry briefcases that could be lost, tampered with or stolen.
Best of all, it enabled enterprises to tally sales results quicker and more effectively, an important consideration at a time when enterprises are under more pressure than ever to show positive results and be able to fix sales and revenue problems before they get out of hand. In addition, thanks to its analytics capabilities, Salesforce has empowered customers with better ways to project sales, thus helping corporate planning in a big way.
Salesforce fundamentally streamlined the way businesses—especially new-gen companies that rely on the Internet for most of their business—operate while showing numerous other cloud services how to do it.
How Salesforce Led the Way to the Cloud
An ever-increasing number of enterprises continue to move to public cloud services, software development platforms in the cloud, as well as cloud data storage and backup. Salesforce can take a lot of credit for doing much of the pioneering work that demonstrated that these cloud platforms were safe and reliable.