Just a few years ago Salesforce was banking on the “social enterprise” to be the pitch that would drive their growth. Now even they admit that did not resonate with potential customers and that performance, a more comprehensive platform and the ability to develop better custom applications to be the long term key to furthering its mission to dominate the marketing and sales cloud industry.
Their solution was introduced late last year and according to early data, Salesforce 1 is already in an application explosion. Since its introduction Salesforce representatives indicated that there was a 96 percent increase in SF1 mobile application users and a 46 percent increase in custom mobile app use in just the first month of the new platform’s operation. Not a definitive win but certainly a strong indication of a positive future.
In his recent analysis of the launch, Larry Dignan, Editor in Chief of ZDNet/Smartplanet, explained the strategy this way “Salesforce1 is the company’s effort to future proof enterprises social, cloud computing, mobile and the Internet of things all blend together to create new touch points for customers.” Custom application development is part of the strength of this approach particularly when you speak of the “Internet of Things”.
In their roll-out of the new platform they emphasized that the platform allow you to build “any type of app”. They envision these apps equally running on any type of device, even those that may not yet be in use. Here’s a short list of the additional app support moves:
Salesforce 1 will have an iOS and Android mobile app that will aggregate all Salesforce tools including custom applications run by a company.
Salesforce still needs to expand and enhance analytics supported within the platform but as they add the Internet of Things it may be another way to push further into the development of better analytic tools. As more apps are developed that integrate more directly with the Salesforce cloud the more data about customers, their purchases, geographic information, even the ability to use that “on the fly” to generate “real time” interaction with those customers via mobile devices.
The reason for this effort is easy to find as recent research indicates that two thirds of marketers surveyed worldwide plan to increase their investments in digital marketing in 2014. The race to provide the most robust integration of “best of the best” marketing and sales tools into a single service has a very big carrot considering this is already a multi-billion dollar industry.
As more small and mid-sized businesses see competition embrace these tools they should be considering if there are benefits to enhancing their marketing and sales operations by adopting SF or enhancing their current use of it. Increasingly they will be needing to differentiate themselves from competition by developing their own applications both for customer engagement and data acquisition. Yet for many of these companies custom application development remains too costly or their internal staff is not able to take on the additional workload.
For these companies looking to an outsourced development solution will be a way to keep up without “breaking the bank”. There are many who have years of experience with Salesforce, as well as, with many other CRM solutions and clouds. These folks are the ones to turn to for solid ideas and solutions that are based on your business needs and are able to provide the development at costs far lower than either smaller local providers or in-house teams.
Although Salesforce is only one a many clouds available, with many more already in the pipeline looking to build a “better mousetrap”, the Salesforce 1 strategy already seems strong enough to increase SF’s hold on a major portion of the market. If they can win their race to providing better analytics and we are likely to see Oracle, Microsoft, and a number of others also building in more comprehensive application support.
One thing is for sure. If businesses are going to succeed in the future, most will need to have solid strategies to utilize these super CRM tools in place now to meet the challenges of the very active mobile application development year 2014 is expected to be.