Salesforce’s announcement to acquire AppExchange partner Koral hints at the expansive vision Benioff has for the company’s role in the emerging on-demand enterprise applications space (think Enterprise 2.0). While the move has implications for existing on-premise CRM and business apps Gorillas like Oracle, SAP and Microsoft, it also changes the on-premise ECM landscape as well… while strengthening the value of the Salesforce AppExchang engine in the SMB space.
Strategically, it is also a powerful proof-point on the value of the App-Exchange community as a source of inorganic growth for Salesforce… and a move that highlights the complementary differences between Salesforce.com and fellow leader in the on-demand apps – Google.
I believe Salesforce is building a portfolio of on-demand enterprise capability that remains complementary to the Google vision for Enterprise 2.0 on-demand business applications and search. While I agree that sooner or later Salesforce and Google may collide, I believe the introduction of “ContentExchange” is a calculated move to further illustrate the complementary value of a Google-Salesforce view of Enterprise 2.0.
Nick Carr offers his take on the announcement and suggests we should start thinking about Salesforce v. Google competition.
“It’s illuminating to think of Salesforce and Google as competitors because their distinctive strengths point to some of the future terms of rivalry in the new IT market. Salesforce’s strength lies in the customer interface – not just the friendly interface of its software services but its Benioff-fueled prowess as a marketer to businesses. Google, to put it generously, is relatively weak in those areas. Where Google’s strength lies is in the back-end infrastructure. Its network of data centers, and the software that connects them, presents a forbidding technological (and financial) challenge to other vendors seeking to “own” all of a client’s data.
Both Google and Salesforce are still small fish in the ocean of enterprise data. But as they swim ahead of the fat bottom-feeders of the old IT market, they may at the moment be the most interesting fish in the sea.”