Does Salesforce1 Meet The Needs Of Indian Enterprises?
As Salesforce.com consolidates and rebrands its offerings under the Salesforce1 platform, Indian enterprises should carefully consider whether the new avatar has all the solutions that the Indian market needs.
Salesforce.com, the San Francisco based cloud computing company, announced the release of their new mobility and apps oriented Salesforce1 platform at the Salesforce Dreamforce Conference on 18 November.
The release comes at a promising time as the company posted its first billion dollar quarter during October end exceeding analyst predictions . With a 36 percent year-over-year growth, the company posted USD $1.08 billion in revenue with shrinking quarterly losses of only USD $126 million, the result of its aggressive investment strategy towards capturing market share.
“The new Salesforce1 platform has effectively rebranded its already established Force.com solution,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst, Greyhound Research. “It’s a bold towards enhanced value since developers are primarily working on mobile first when creating enterprise apps.”
Greyhound research across the Asia Pacific and Middle East Africa regions has shown that the demand for enterprise apps on mobile is rapidly growing, with over 70 percent of enterprises looking for CRM, BI and HCM apps to add value to their mobile device strategies.
“Salesforce presence although strong in the Indian market share has waned a bit with respect to enterprise ready solutions for the next wave of innovation,” said Gogia. “CIOs and enterprises are looking for convergent ecosystems from their solutions providers that can help them leverage the joint benefits of cloud, mobility and data.”
The changes introduced in Salesforce1’s range of options seem to make its platform more developer friendly; with ten times greater APIs (application programming interfaces) and other newer components. The company has also released its applications and tools on the Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating systems to allow easier adoption by users.
The addition of the new enterprise features, such as the unified dashboard and security management tools, indicate that Salesforce1 is now the de facto flagship product of the company. The growing aim of the company continues towards becoming the standard in cloud computing applications development, along with a leading provider of marketing and client support tools to its enterprise customers.
As Salesforce1 looks to address the customer facing concerns of enterprises it is phasing out its current offerings - Chatter and Salesforce Touch - integrating all related utilities under the Salesforce1 umbrella. Claiming this unified and centralised control mechanism as a “beyond the Internet of Things” approach, said Michael Peachy, Senior Director of Solutions Marketing, adding that “every company needs to create their own internet of customers”, in an interview .
“Salesforce1 will fundamentally replace all of our mobile applications,” said Kendall Collins, Executive Vice President Products during an event interview .
The Indian Scenario
“Indian enterprises specially have been using CRM solutions for years, what they need now more than ever is the ability to deploy customer experience insights to enhance customer engagement,” said Gogia sighting a case form an Indian telecommunications provider who is more interested in leveraging social media data for its customer engagement strategy than just upgrading its CRM systems.
Gorgia explained that although the unified platform will improve upon the already established Force.com solution, the need to address the demands of enterprises directly is where Salesforce needs to move. The availability of high quality analytic apps and mobility interfaces from the platform provider would bolster enterprise confidence in its solution as a whole.
In India, Salesforce.com has over 30 large enterprise customers reliant on its CRM and other enterprise management applications including companies such as, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Janalakshmi Financial Services and Su-Kam Power Systems.
Research from Gartner shows that Indian enterprises are projected to sustain a public cloud services market of USD 4.2 billion by 2017 as well as USD $1.8 billion projected growth in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business’. The mobility and apps oriented view of Salesforce1 has the potential to eat in to this growing Indian market.
“India is the fastest growing cloud computing market in the Asia Pacific region; with ongoing roll-outs of national broadband and 3G networks,” said Gogia . “A focus on reducing TCO (total cost of ownership), and demand for more scalability and flexibility in business applications, the cloud computing market in India is poised for continued growth.”
However, Salesforce.com and its apps developers have not yet made any announcements regarding the data scalability issues faced by enterprises in nations such as India. Unlike other countries, even medium and small-scale enterprises in India deliver to millions of end consumers, making the demand for customer engagement platforms a must for growth.
The confluence of the growing enterprise technology trend in cloud and mobility combined with Salesforce1’s intense focus in the same arena for its application offering has a significant potential to accelerate rate of adoption by Indian enterprises. And with limited competition in the Indian market, lower development costs and higher (up to 5 times faster) application speeds, along with a nearly 40,000 member Salesforce developer community, that is already trained on the Force.com platform, the transition to Salesforce1 is expected to be smooth and seamless.
“Salesforce’s Internet of Customers strategy although critical in the current scenario doesn’t directly contribute enterprise data analytic solutions and relies on the developer community,” said Gogia. “Considering the one stop solution, of platform and analytics, from main competitors like Microsoft and Oracle, Salesforce really needs to take a more proactive role in its AppExchange market place.”
The company has consistently ranked as the world’s most innovative company and has fought against giants Microsoft, Oracle and SAP to make a mark in the Indian and global markets with more than a 40 percent global market share. But as the new battle over cloud and mobility platforms moves beyond traditional CRM offerings the nature of the competition is changing.
In India, the opportunity for similar innovation and growth is ripe as enterprises are looking for faster, more cost effective and customisable solutions that can efficiently be integrated in to their mobile strategies. SAP, Microsoft and Oracle are investing heavily towards creating convergent ecosystems for both platform and apps solutions that enterprises are in growing need of, along with the added bonus of reliant brand names that are capable of assuring turn-key solutions.
And although Salesforce1 is an ambitious integration of all applications and cloud services under one roof, Salesforce.com has only a brief golden moment in the Indian market to have the first mover advantage and corner the enterprise SaaS market. But only if they are able to convince enterprises that their expertise extends beyond the platform and the mobile device, and is growing in key client and marketing solutions from data analytics.
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