Tag Archives: Cloud Computing

CloudForce 2010

A inventory application created in real time with Force.com in this breakout session

For the past few years I have attended this annual afternoon event by Salesforce.com which is usually held at the Buckhead Westin.   As always this was an impressive first class event with food, drinks, give-aways, informative keynotes, and breakouts on the latest Salesforce technologies.  Every year I learn something new and leave feeling  freshly inspired and encouraged about cloud technology in general.  As usual the event was packed with 300-400 attendees.

The keynote always starts out with a definition of cloud computing…(1) multi-tenant, (2) pay as you go, (3) realtime, and (4) auto upgrades and then provides an update on Salesforce statistics in terms of growth and customers. Salesforce now has grown to 72,500 paying customers,  all without traditional marketing…basically word of mouth.  Salesforce is ISO 27001 certified for those who worry about security in the cloud and boasts three global data centers…east coast, west coast, and Singapore.

Basically Salesforce wants to take the best of the consumer web and bring it to their customers. To meet this goal they are rolling out a new service called Chatter Collaboration Cloud, with a very facebook like feature set and designed into all of the Saleforce products. Like Facebook Chatter has a “wall” containing update posts from people, objects (like documents), events, and even Salesforce entities like Contacts.  Chatter is currently in beta and will be available to all customers free of charge later in 2010.

Besides free food and beer/wine give-a-ways included three books, “Salesforce.com for Dummies“, “Service Cloud for Dummies”, and “Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry.”

Ok this year I really am going to take my new found inspiration, along with my Force.com workbook, “Building your first cloud app in 30 minutes,” along with my free Force.com developers account, create a fantastic application, and add it to AppExchange, Salesforce.com’s online marketplace for applications built with Force.com. Or maybe I’ll just return to this same Salesforce.com event in 2011 who knows.

CloudForce Tour

Salesforce held the first 2009 CloudForce seminar in Atlanta at the Intercontential Hotel Buckhead on March 5th from 2:30 until 5pm with a reception from 5 until 6. I always enjoy catching up on the latest salesforce features and success stories as I’m a big admirer of Salesforce as an early entry into cloud computing and the success they have had. At this event I didn’t really hear alot of new information. It was more of a refresher to remind Atlanta customers and potential customers of the value and opportunities available from the Salesforce platform. I get very excited about Force.com as a development platform along with appexchange to provide an easy vehicle for commericalizing applications.

I do wish Force.com would reduce their monthly subscription fee to be more in line with other cloud application development platforms. But as always I get fired up hearing about the success of force.com from customers…who represent very large as well as very small companies. Which points to a major characteristic and advantage of cloud computing…the smallest company has access to the exact same technologies that are available to the very largest companies for creating innovation and value.

As usual the reception from 5 to 6 was fantastic with free beer and wine and hot h’ordeurves. I love Salesforce receptions.  

Six Predictions for 2009

(1) Tight budgets in the ressession will accelerate the adoption of Cloud computing

Cloud computing, which is arguably the biggest paradigm shift in IT since the PC, came crashing onto the radar screen of the business world in 2008. Led by market leader Amazon Web Services several large technology companies started offering cloud computing services in 2008…Google App Engine in the middle of the year and Microsoft Azure services coming online towards the end of year.  Intuit’s Quickbase has been around for several years and in 2008 began gaining real traction in Fortune 500 departments tired of waiting in the IT backlog line.  Many small companies offering cloud services rose to prominence including Zoho, DabbleDB, Mozy, Salesforce/Force, Ning, Wetpaint, and Rightscale just to name a few. In 2008 Cloud computing user groups started popping up in major cities around the world. In 2009 the state of our economy will further drive the need to cut IT costs of maintenance which is often over 80% of the entire IT budget and focus more dollars on applying technology to adding innovation and improving cash flow.  Businesses are going to find that adopting the cloud computing model will not only reduce maintenance but also speed up delivery of solutions. Small companies that have run their business primarily using a combination of Quickbooks and Excel spreadsheets will began to discover cloud applications in 2009 and adopt them at a rapid pace due to their ease of use and lack of requirements for IT support.
(2) Twitter usage will explode to 50 million accounts
Twitter is going main stream in 2009. Twitter is just too cool, useful, powerful, and common sense. Everybody using Twitter knows this. Twitter went from near zero to 5 million in 2008. In 2009 it will easily go to 50 million. Companies will hire people to monitor twitter for tweets on their brand and make appropriate responses. The number of 3rd party apps for Twitter exploded in 2008 and will continue doing so in 2009.
(3) The reduced value of email will finally become apparent to corporate leadership
As new social networking tools for communication and collaboration like Twitter, Facebook, Google Sites, Blogger, Wordpad, and Google Talk are brought through the back door of enterprises by employees who use these tools at home the need for email and even more importantly the time for traditional email will continue to decline. In my own experience most of my emails now are spam and ham anyway while my best most relevant communications more often occur inside social networking environments. I predict that in 2009 management at many enterprises will finally “get it” and maybe some will even form a strategy for “official” adoption of all the great new tools that are available above and beyond email.
(4) Trust will be the new “control”
If you make the decision to make the leap to cloud computing then you are giving up “control” for “trust.” You are making a decision to trust the vendor of cloud computing services to safeguard your data, not to sell your data to a 3rd party, and to assist you if there is a problem. If you want control, then you need to setup your application 100% behind your own firewall on your own server and managed with your own staff. You will pay for the server hardware, staff salaries, and training for staff so they know how to maintain the technologies. And you will count on your staff to know more than the best organized hackers in the world to secure your network. I think more people will choose “trust” over “control” in 2009. It’s a trend that the under 25 crowd has already adopted completely.
(5) “Do it” yourself IT
In the past IT solutions required installing applications on servers or mainframes that were controled by the IT department. Units within a corporation requested projects which had to be approved in the budget and then put onto the IT group’s project backlog list where they remained sometimes for months if not years. Nowadays cloud computing enables solutions to be created that run outside of the control and even beyond the eyesight of traditional IT. And since many cloud apps are free they can even be created and maintained outside the traditional budgeting process as well. Suddenly without warning you have a business unit using a system making them more efficient and effective where IT and the management approval chain had nothing to do with approval or development. This is one of the most disruptive shifts I have seen in my 25 years working as an IT professional in large organizations. Many IT groups simply don’t get what’s happening (many are in denial) as they grow ever more marginalized as the systems they are responsible for maintaining grow less important to the business.
(6) Virtual Worlds will continue to expand and proliferate
Virtual worlds are here to stay and will continue to grow in 2009. Second Life for example grew by 61% in 2008. As virtual worlds continue expanding from the 3 Cs (communication, collaboration and commerce) to more advanced rapid prototyping, simulation, education, and data visualization they will continue to attract increasing numbers of education and training professionals, medical professionals, scientists, and engineers.