Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Books: Beyond the Cloud

SaaS. Software as a Service. This comes as an disruptive technology when the enterprises were spending megabucks on software to roll out to maximize their efficiency. The initial software licenses and the hardware, in order to host the solution, was compounded by the efforts spent in adapting the software to the specific needs of the buyer. At a time like this, Marc Benioff was bold enough to pursue his vision of "No Software". Technically incorrect, the idea was to host the application and provide access to enterprises to use the hosted application to remove the hardware costs from the equation. If this was not enough, they were going to charge the customer a monthly subscription fees similar to a pay-as-you-go mode.

We all know how the vision turned out. I am talking about the company founded by Marc Benioff. salesforce.com. But do we know what were driving factors and deciding events behind the success story of salesforce.com. This is what the author and founder of salesforce.com, Marc Benioff, tells in this book. With a dream to change the world and limited resources, salesforce.com  innovated to become a market pioneer and also leader. Humble beginning with respect to resources(both manpower and capital), they set out for a David-versus-Goliath battle against Siebel. Instead of building ground up, they capitulated on the successful and time-proven technologies available. When it comes to attract attention to their product, they came out with out-of-box ideas. All these are interesting and also inspiring to read.

Starting from basics and turning successful was just one of the hurdles. But when  salesforce.com  became successful, the company as a whole has to adapt without changing their core values. Sometimes after defeating Goliath, David turns into Goliath. Instead of transforming into the undesirable giant, salesforce.com  assimilates some of the good characteristics of Goliath as part of the adaptation process. When  salesforce.com  files for IPO, there are other challenges they face. They create a new market which did not exist before. Being the first means there are no written set of rules. This is the most interesting part of the book and makes it a must read for any budding entrepreneur. Disruptive technologies also has lot of challenges in addition to creating and capturing the market.

This books is recommended for two types of people. The first type are entrepreneurs(even if you are already one or you hope to be one in the future) and the second type are people associated with information industry. For the first type, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from Marc Benioff's experience while for the second type, it is a history lesson.

Tags: Books,Marc Benioff,saleforce.com



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