Salesforce.com CEO and co-founder Marc Benioff said Nov. 18 that his company offered to rebuild and repair the Obama administration’s HealthCare.org Website and run it for five years at no cost.
Benioff, whose company is hosting DreamForce 2013 in downtown San Francisco through Nov. 21, made the remarks on live national television to Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” talk show.
The lead IT contractor for the federal government’s Affordable Heathcare portal, Canada-based CGI Federal, has been under fire for more than a month since the rollout of the Website because hundreds of thousands of people shopping for health-care insurance alternatives have been unable to register and use various parts of the site.
The site has crashed numerous times, data entered into its fields has been lost or frozen in cyberspace, and insurance shoppers have been stymied in their attempts to research and buy insurance numerous times. Questions also abound about the security of the whole operation.
Under Fire for Weeks
The trials and trevails of the Healthcare.org site have been well-chronicled in all forms of media for several weeks and have become a political hot potato–not only in Washington, D.C., but all over the United States.
Since the rollout, the federal government has sought remedies from new solution providers, including Oracle, Google and other Silicon Valley companies.
In a discussion with Cramer on “Mad Money,” Benioff revealed that his company approached the Obama administration and offered to help with the Website.
Benioff and Cramer, talking on live television in the middle of the DreamForce lounge on Howard Street, were discussing why many companies are still reluctant to move their IT operations to the cloud, despite the fact that cloud has been a productive trend for some seven years.
Could Salesforce Have Helped HealthCare.gov?
Cramer then steered the topic to HealthCare.gov.
“Why was the president not social/mobile/cloud for health care? And why didn’t he just turn to you, or why didn’t you tell him how to do it?” Cramer said.
“He was [social-mobile-cloud savvy] for his campaign, and then he didn’t do it in this agency,” Benioff said. “I don’t know why,” he said, shrugging.
“So why didn’t you take it over?” Cramer said.
“We’re busy here, Jim!” Benioff said. “We offered to do it for free, we offered to run it for free for the next five years, rebuild it for free. I think it’s hard for them to process, ‘What does that mean?’ ” Benioff said.
“This is a customer relationship problem, was it not?” Cramer said. “The customer was forgotten.”
“This is our sweet spot,” Benioff said. “But you know what, San Francisco is a long way from Washington, D.C. He’s [Obama] coming here next week, so maybe we can talk about it then.”