What CRM integrates with Waveapps

Salesforce from CRM to the Internet of Things

With sales of over five billion US dollars (FY / 15), Salesforce is one of the most successful cloud computing companies in the world. Most of the business is still achieved with products from the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) area. Nevertheless, Salesforce has long since started to expand its long-term focus to new future markets and cleverly thought about linking the original business purpose with it. Even if the portfolio is largely strengthened through acquisitions and less with its own innovations, Salesforce has the potential to play a major role in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Founded in 1999 with the aim of changing the software market, Salesforce has developed into one of the leading providers in the cloud computing market over the past 16 years. Originally intended as a pure Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for customer relationship management (currently: Sales Cloud, Salesforce IQ, Data.com), the portfolio was expanded in 2007 with its own proprietary Platform-as-a-Service ( PaaS) - Force.com - expanded. On the basis of Salesforce's own Apex programming language, Force.com enables companies to develop their own applications that can be seamlessly linked to the Salesforce.com environment, for example to save or access customer or sales data directly.

A German company that made use of it early on and built its business model on the pillars of Salesforce and Force.com, as it were, is Propertybase, a SaaS solution for real estate marketing. The applications developed on Force.com can be made available to other companies for use via the AppStore “AppExchange” - originally presented in 2006 as a marketplace for hosted business applications. In 2010, the PaaS portfolio was expanded with the acquisition of the Polyglot PaaS Heroku, which helped Salesforce loosen up its proprietary stance a little.

Over the years, the portfolio has been expanded further in the direction of customer service-oriented applications:

  • 2009: Service Cloud - combination of classic and modern customer communication via social networks.
  • 2012: Desk.com (acquisition of Assistly) - cloud-based help desk for interaction with customers.

Another focus was placed on the topic of social collaboration:

  • 2010: Chatter - social collaboration tool similar to Facebook.
  • 2015: Community Cloud - building communities to network with customers, partners, etc.

With the takeover of ExactTarget (and its acquisition Pardot, a marketing automation solution), the Salesforce Marketing Cloud was created in 2014, with which customer-oriented marketing measures can be controlled.

The current Salesforce portfolio: Fit for the future

In addition to solutions for customer relationship management, marketing and modern collaboration inside and outside the company, Salesforce has specifically expanded and strategically expanded its portfolio with additional services.

With the start of Wave Analytics aka Salesforce Analytics Cloud in 2014, Salesforce customers have a Business Intelligence solution at their disposal with which, on the one hand, the data from the Salesforce ecosystem itself and from other external sources can be evaluated and visually displayed. Wave Analytics accesses information from the Sales Cloud (Sales Wave) and the Service Cloud (Service Wave) on the one hand. As part of Wave Analytics, you can develop your own wave applications (Wave Apps) and thus adapt them to your own needs in terms of scope and visualization.

In order to provide a better overview (or just to cause confusion once again) all PaaS-relevant services (Force.com, Heroku Enterprise and AppExchange) have now been combined under the name “AppCloud” and with the Services Shield (encryption, compliance , Audit), Thunder, Salesforce Sandboxes (basically an “isolated playground” for developers and administrators) and Lightning Connect (integration with providers such as SAP, Oracle or Microsoft).

A special look should be given to Thunder (IoT Cloud), an event processing engine with which Salesforce is now actively dedicated to the topic of the Internet of Things. Thunder enables the collection and orchestration of events based on data on websites, sensors or other interactions, which can then be responded to depending on the situation.

Salesforce is not a newcomer to the Internet of Things. Back in 2013 on the Customer Company Tour, a use case was presented in which GE Salesforce uses Chatter to inform its support teams about the current status of aircraft engines (M2M communication). Despite everything, this use case attracted little attention at the time. However, the potential potential of the Salesforce platform and the direction in which Salesforce will steer was already presented at that time.

The functional scope of the Salesforce IoT service portfolio is still relatively thin compared to that of Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. Which explains the unusually reserved manner of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his marketing army. Nevertheless, there is potential in the platform, which has been prepared for the Internet of Things with the necessary developer tools (PaaS), analytics services (Wave) and event handlers (Thunder). In addition, Salesforce has to be credited with ensuring that all platform services are integrated with one another in order to be able to access the CRM, sales, marketing and collaboration data within IoT use cases in the future as well is required for a “digital factory”. An advantage that should not be underestimated.

The expansion of the portfolio is imperative in order not to jeopardize a positive upward trend, as well as in the Internet of Things growth market (http://www.crisp-research.com/der-einfluss-des-internet-auf-den-cio/) not to lose touch with AWS and Microsoft Azure. For this it is necessary to provide for more own technical innovations. 34 acquisitions in the last nine years (including Jigsaw now Data.com, ExactTarged / Pardot now Marketing Cloud, Assistly now Desk.com, Rypple now Work.com) have led to a predominant acquisition of innovative technologies. Although this shows an entrepreneurial and strategic foresight, it does not reflect the DNA of a technological leader or innovator. It therefore remains to be seen how Salesforce will further expand its IoT portfolio - presumably also by purchasing existing solutions.

Another problem that Salesforce is struggling with are the constant changes to product names and the reorganization of the product portfolio. This is not well received by the customer. For example, Radian6 has now been relegated deep into the abyss of the Marketing Cloud under the Social category. Thematically, of course, it makes sense. However, Marc Benioff shouldn't make the mistake of emulating his Oracle grandmaster Larry Ellison too much. Smoke candle campaigns provide that certain something at events - but customers prefer to keep an eye on what they are buying!

In the German market, Salesforce is still struggling to a large extent with the sustainable development of a strong partner ecosystem of system integrators and other technical partners. And that is imperative. As a SaaS solution, Salesforce seems at first glance like one of the typical “low hanging fruits” - easy access, quick sense of achievement. However, the opposite is true. Salesforce is fraught with a high level of complexity that has to be mastered. There is no question of a simple configuration, which will be further strengthened by the growing portfolio and new use cases that will arise from the Internet of Things. As with the public cloud providers on the IaaS level, the same applies to Salesforce: Without a competent partner network, it will be difficult to achieve the market shares and sales in the German market that are required from the USA. A strategically important and above all pragmatic decision is the partnership with T-Systems, which can help German customers navigate to the Salesforce platform. T-Systems operates the German data center of Salesforce in Frankfurt - according to German law.

German Salesforce customers use a self-sufficient Salesforce instance that exists separately from the actual Salesforce public cloud. Whether T-Systems has the prerequisites to master the Herculean task of the “German market” as the sole strong partner remains to be seen.