Salesforce: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Salesforce continues to innovate to stay a step ahead of the growing competition.

SAN is on the move again. That's what the company's vice president of developer relations, Adam Gross, said is good at-moving and innovating to stay one step ahead of the companies coming into its space.

According to Gross, Salesforce is not just one step but instead is as far ahead as "nine or 10 innings" of its closest competition in terms of delivering core SAAS (software as a service), or "on-demand," value, as Gross calls it. Nine or 10 innings means is an entire game, or perhaps at least one generation, ahead of its competitors.

Salesforce has a huge head start over other companies just entering the SAAS space, such as Microsoft, according to Gross, but he gives them credit for making the move to do it.

Gross said he takes his hat off to Microsoft's chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, for articulating the software giant's strategy for attacking the world of services. But he also takes umbrage with Microsoft's much-touted strategy of promoting "software plus services."

In an interview with eWEEK, Gross said that Microsoft officials "are very defensive about the role of software. And you can hear it. They say it's not about services, it's not about the Internet; it's about software plus services. And what are they saying? They're not communicating to us. They're not talking to customers. Customers have said they want this as a service. They're saying to like the 14,000 people they have working on software internally, Don't worry, we're not going to require you to rearchitect yet."

Meanwhile, Salesforce is holding its Dreamforce user conference here the week of Sept. 17 and announcing new tools.

One tool, the company's platform, gives developers the back-end infrastructure and logic to design applications, without the accompanying Salesforce branding.

The primary piece of the platform is the Visualforce technology for building on-demand user interfaces. Visualforce is just one more innovation that helps keep Salesforce ahead of its competition.

"We're coming out with so much new stuff all the time that keeping developers up to speed with all the technology frankly is a new challenge," Gross said.

As Salesforce enters its user conference, that seems to be the case. And the company welcomes competition, Gross said.

"The expectation isn't that Salesforce is going to exist and every other company's going to go away," he said. "No, it's that we're going to have a bunch of new companies on the Internet and we're going to have a bunch of existing companies transitioning to the Internet."