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Salesforce: Pinning CRM Strategy to 'The Internet of Customers'

Salesforce: Pinning CRM Strategy to 'The Internet of Customers'
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Salesforce.com's strategy is for Salesforce1 to fuel a golden age in enterprise apps by acting as a platform upon which enterprise customers and independent software vendors can develop and run new apps that are fully integrated into the Salesforce user experience, said analyst Steve Hodgkinson.
 

CRM giant Salesforce.com is doing some bragging this week, reporting 'soaring adoption' of its new Salesforce1 platform for social, mobile and cloud applications, and also pushing its new concept called "The Internet of Customers."

The company coined the phrase late last year. It refers to the infrastructure connects applications and databases in the Salesforce marketing cloud to the so-called “Internet of Things." For its part, Cisco has busy promoting the "Internet of Things" concept into mainstream tech language, referring to the network of physical objects that are accessible and manageable through the Internet, thanks to sensors and other technology embedded in those objects.

But ultimately, as Salesforce points out, connectivity is not just about connecting things, it's about connecting people.

Internet of Customers Finds Traction

Here’s the overarching concept as Salesforce.com sees it: Every day, millions of new products, apps and devices are connecting to the Internet. By 2020, there will be more than 50 billion connected things -- from smartphones and wearables to jet engines and ultrasound machines. And behind every product, every app and every device, there is a customer.

With that in mind, Salesforce.com wants to position the Web not as the Internet of Things, but as the Internet of Customers. The company predicts somewhat of a tech revolution, where companies will connect every employee, partner, product, app and device to their customers using the power of social networks, mobile devices, and cloud computing. Indeed, customers have never been so close, and companies must be prepared to sell, service and market to them anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Mobilizing Salesforce

In its first month, Salesforce says its new Salesforce1 Customer Platform drove a 96 percent increase in Salesforce1 mobile app active users and a 46 percent increase in active users of custom mobile apps.

What’s more, the company reports that partner apps built and optimized for the Salesforce1 Customer Platform have already doubled since its launch. More than 250 partners have committed to delivering new Salesforce1 apps on the Salesforce1 AppExchange. One such partner is DocuSign, and the company's CEO spoke about the benefit of linking up with Salesforce.

"DocuSign for Salesforce1 creates new opportunities for DocuSign customers to extend the value of Salesforce by delivering apps and data in a single place where everything is connected in the context of the customer," said Keith Krach, chairman and CEO of DocuSign. "As the global standard for eSignature, DocuSign for Salesforce1 brings our powerful and easy-to-use eSignature solution to more customers globally so they can close deals faster in the cloud and in person from the convenience of their mobile device."

Golden Age in Enterprise Apps

Steve Hodgkinson, research director of IT at market research firm Ovum, said Salesforce.com’s strategy is for Salesforce1 to fuel "a golden age in enterprise apps" by acting as a platform upon which both enterprise customers and independent software vendors can develop and run new apps that are fully integrated into the Salesforce user experience.

"This heralds a new platform-as-a-service era for enterprise applications," he said. "Cloud service platforms will drive an even bigger revolution in enterprise IT as we all try to make sense of the opportunities created by tens of billions of connected devices, thousands of apps, and the customers and citizens that own and use them.""
 

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