Dreamforce 2010

December 20, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

2011 — the “Year of the Platform”

San Francisco’s Moscone convention center was its normal bustling self early this Monday morning. But, at this year’s 8th annual Dreamforce event, the buzz around new application development tools and Platform as a Service (PaaS) innovation was at an all-time high.
This year’s event boasted 30,000 registered attendees (up significantly from last year). But attendees this year seemed to look a lot more like a classic developers – heads deep in smart phones and iPads, dressed in jeans and baseball caps and listening intently to the technical teams reviewing product architectures.

Despite the company’s growing enterprise class customer base, the Force.com development platform and its appeal to both corporate and independent software developers remains a core company focus. With now over 1,000 ISVs in their AppExchange program, Benioff and his management team made some really significant announcements about the structure of their Force.com software development platform and related tools.

The first major announcement was the database in the cloud offering, dubbed database.com. This offering is a stand-alone service available via the company’s API to any development language on any platform device, not just Force.com developers. Pricing announced was per user, per month fees based on transaction counts and records. This new offering brings the SaaS leader into direct competition with Oracle not just for CRM now, but also its sweet spot – database.

The second major announcement was the pending acquisition of Heroku. This leading software development platform based on Ruby on Rails is being acquired by Benioff for about $212 million, and is supposedly the fastest growing cloud application platform powered by Ruby.
“Ruby is the language of Cloud 2, and Heroku is the leading Ruby application platform-as-a-service for Cloud 2”, stated Benioff. “We think this acquisition will uniquely position Salesforce.com as the cornerstone for the next generation of app developers.”
Now, with not three but seven unique cloud offerings, the SaaS leader has an interesting partner training and practice-development challenge ahead. The cloud services opportunity is truly significant for both ISVs and SI’s and both pre- and post-sale. But, with only 2700 implementation partners globally, 400 of which represent the major of its implementation services skills, the company needs to consider not only how to court developers but how to bring its ISV and SI communities together to help its customers deploy these applications successfully in their current environments.

View the full event analysis.

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