We thought we would settle all the salesforce.com / Google rumors that are floating around. The news is not an acquisition, but rather that Appirio is is now the first partner to be certified as both a salesforce.com consulting and AppExchange partner, and as a partner in the Google Enterprise Professional™ Program. We’re surprised at the amount of speculation and activity our new products and discussions with the two companies have caused, but then again, it is quite an accomplishment….
All joking aside, we won’t add to the growing number of theories regarding the specifics of the upcoming announcements. Instead we would like to discuss the value Appirio found in integrating Google and salesforce.com in our offerings, and what a broader alignment between the two companies will mean for the industry.
Appirio’s Sales Sleuth – Google Gadget for Salesforce.com
From the onset, Appirio’s mission has been to accelerate the adoption of on-demand in the enterprise. Our initial focus was solely on salesforce.com and its ecosystem because of its technical excellence, business relevance, open approach and strong market momentum. All of those components were critical in breaking new ground with enterprises that, at the time, were still cautious of on-demand. We feel equally passionate about Google in the enterprise because it excels in all those same areas.
Our excitement led to our developing the Google Gadgets for salesforce.com. As a result, we became the first certified partner of both salesforce.com and Google to deliver integrated products and consulting services to enterprise customers. While technical mash-ups between Google and salesforce.com have been around for some time, we felt the strong fit between the products and approaches of the companies also made their integration very relevant to end customers projects requiring new products and services.
As for a broader message, we do have predictions regarding the impact of the upcoming Google – salesforce.com announcement. Regardless of what the first announcement actually is, we can count on a few things:
- On-premise vendors will not be able to easily mimic it – For both business and technical reasons, you can be sure SAP, Oracle, etc. will not be able to create a “me too” announcement. This reflects the fundamental gap between on-premise software and the Internet. While SaaS solutions live and breathe because of the Internet, on-premise solutions treat it as just another external ‘thing’. Choose your favorite amongst the rumors and consider how an on-premise vendor would try to replicate the capability. The realization that there are fundamental limitations to on-premise software (in addition to the score of business, cost and technical disadvantages) will drive home the point that on-demand cannot be thought of as just another delivery model. As more and more enterprises understand this, we will see an even greater acceleration of on-demand adoption.
- The announcement will have business relevance – You can be certain that the announcement will not hail the fact that salesforce.com and Google have agreed to a specification for the 73rd WS* (web services) standard. In enterprise on-premise software, low-level technical announcements are often cause for dramatic celebration or worry. For example, if IBM and SAP agree to a standard for asynchronous web services security, for days people will wonder about the potential impact on Oracle. The on-demand world allows the market focus on the business and technical implications, not how Google and Salesforce.com are internally constructed. For Google and Salesforce.com, Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) are natural extensions of their Internet centric approach.
- The ecosystem will foster even more innovation – The salesforce.com and Google development communities will add dramatic value to the initiatives announced, regardless of topic. This will further validate another intrinsic difference between on-premise software and SaaS – the rate of partner innovation. Because of the SaaS model, the ecosystem can begin to innovate immediately, not waiting on customers to upgrade or magic combinations of versions and new patches.
Overall, we believe the collaboration will be the first of many and help the broader market understand the revolution that is occurring in the software industry. Marc Benioff’s keynote at Software 2007 highlighted the potential magnitude of this change. Companies like Google, eBay, Amazon, Yahoo and salesforce.com are paving a new path of computing for both consumers and the enterprise of tomorrow.