Dreamforce is arguably one of the largest, if not the largest, cloud computing software user conference today.
So what? Why should you or I care?
Salesforce.com (SFDC) just concluded its four-day mega-event gathering of over 135,000 registered people in San Francisco to drink the Kool-Aid so-to-speak and get insight as to where SFDC is headed as a company.
As I wrote in my last blog, “The HRIS Dream: The Next Big Thing”, I discussed why HR professionals needed to pay attention to Salesforce. I continue forward on this topic with “The HRIS Dream Continues”, fresh off the plane from San Francisco, and shuffling to avoid the waves of registered attendees at Dreamforce. The conference is a first class event filled with subject matter experts providing valuable sessions, as well as industry leaders who are paving the way for the future of this ever changing software industry, in what SFDC has coined “The 3rd Great Wave of Computing – The Internet of Things.” Dreamforce once again left me filled with anticipation and inspired about the Force.com platform and this enthusiastic community.
SFDC reinforced and continues to go big on the mobile front and expressing how technology is truly connecting people, devices and so many other ‘things’. Billions and billions of connections according to SFDC. A world of hyper-connection isn’t just about the technology, it’s about the consumer and their ability to make smarter, more informed choices even faster. “Everything is on the net. And we will be connected in phenomenal new ways,” said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com.
Marc shared his vision for the third wave of computing, known as “The Internet of Things.”
Benioff, who I refer to as the ‘head dreamer’, provided ways that SFDC has helped change and connect the world with his philanthropic philosophy of 1/1/1 and the impact it has on every day people. He also highlighted how even his toothbrush of the future will be connected. The new Philips toothbrush is Wi-Fi based and has GPS. “When I go to my dentist’s office, he isn’t going to say, ‘Did you brush?’ He’s going to say, ‘What’s your login to your Philips account?’ It’s going to require a new level of trust with my dentist. It’s a whole new world with my dentist”, said Benioff. It was an extreme example in my opinion, but it clearly made the point about the impact of the coming connected world.
Like so many companies right now, SFDC announced their newest product release with an emphasis on a mobile platform – introducing Salesforce1. A new mobile customer platform, loaded with API’s, to allow administrators and end users the ability to run their business from one mobile app that connects you to every application built on the Force.com platform. Salesforce1 is a brilliant idea to control and solidify SFDC as the premier provider of cloud-based technology and allow their 2,000+ ISV’s (Independent Software Vendors) a unified development platform. It also provides a single gateway for customers to access all of their Force.com apps in one place regardless of the vendor.
This new mobile platform won’t convince anyone searching for an HRIS next year, but it will add another brick to the wall of justification and the march to what I call the “The Dream”. Imagine your Recruiting, HRIS, Talent Management, Financials, PSA, Travel and Expense, and Commissions solutions all accessed through the same mobile app, even though the solutions may be delivered by different vendors. At the very least, this shared common platform should minimize or eliminate the concern for user adoption.
As discussed in a previous blog, the next generation HRIS will be all about the cloud eco-system and not necessarily about who has built the best killer application. The flexibility and connectivity of PaaS (Platform as a Service) will be difficult to ignore. Herein lies why I think HR, IT and Finance Professionals need to pay attention to SFDC and the growing eco-system – it’s the platform for ISV’s to deliver great products and a phenomenal user experience.
As HR professionals digest the impact of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and decide whether to renew their company benefit plans early to avoid potentially exorbitant rate increases, the thought of adding or replacing their HR software is moving back to the forefront as an objective for 2014. So what makes vendors that build their HR software application on the Force.com so worthwhile? Here is what I think makes this platform, and in effect those who chose to build their application on the platform, so captivating and compelling to HR professionals.
- Cloud Infrastructure: Inherent features within the multi-tenant architecture of the Force.com platform.
- Stability and Scalability: Force.com regularly handles 400 million transactions a day and processes approximately 10 billion transactions per quarter.
- Usability: A common, modern user interface available on any device.
- Security: There is no other cloud computing Platform as a Service (PaaS) that offers the level of transparency, scalability and security of your data than Force.com. This is a primary reason why so many IT professionals are adopting and standardizing their companies’ applications on SFDC.
- Mobility: With the release of Salesforce1, SFDC is the most advanced mobile platform that embraces a single UI (User Interface). For HR and IT professionals, the ability to empower their users with a single app ensures higher adoptability and the quest to transform outdated business processes.
- Configurability: User friendly and easy-to-use tools designed for end-users to modify fields, labels, and pages without ever having to worry about the impact on future upgrades.
- Global: Native capabilities to leverage multiple local settings, multiple languages (the translation workbench), multiple currencies, and multiple countries around the world.
- Privacy: A secure infrastructure with flexible tools that help enable customers to comply with global privacy and data protection regulations.
- Analytics and Metrics: Utilization of dashboards and reports to analyze data from multiple applications and across multiple dimensions.
- Eco-system: The largest B2B exchange of 2,000+ independent vendors, building killer applications on the same platform, while reducing integration concerns and sharing similar data.
On a final note, there was a lack of any discussion around “Big Data” and apparently absent from the four days of sessions while hearing the SFDC pitch. What is “Big Data” and how it impacts HR on managing people, policies and processes, is for another discussion. However, SFDC will need to provide clarity on its “Big Data” strategy going forward. As I see it, brick by brick SFDC is going to be the eco-system of choice for SMB companies in the future.