To conclude the interview, I bring up the topic of branding. It seems obvious that Salesforce is moving beyond what it’s name suggests it offers clients. At this point, their brand is vastly less ambitious than the company.
SM: My final question is regarding AppExchange. Salesforce seems to be moving beyond CRM. RB: We are CRM, and we are a platform company. Three weeks ago we announced you could buy the platform independent of the CRM application.
SM: If you fast forward five years, some of the companies which are based on the platform, and built on the platform in other vertical application areas, some of them are naturally going to be acquired by Salesforce. If you fast forward five years, Salesforce may look like a very different software company than what it is today. At that point, will you do a re-branding? RB: I don’t think we have ever been unclear as to what we want to be. We want to be the company which manages all business information on demand.
SM: You have a brand that says something else. RB: Yes, but you know I worked with Oracle for 11 years and believe me we were called Oracle for a reason : the database. Today the database brand and the company brand are synonymous.
SM: Orcale does not describe a function. It is a non-descriptive name, which Salesforce is not. RB: In my mind Oracle means a database, and database means Oracle.
SM: Oracle means prophecy, it does not mean database. RB: Semantically yes. I mean within the market.
SM: With Salesforce I don’t think of anything but CRM. RB: True, we may have a branding challenge. Meanwhile we are doing really well on the Salesforce automation business, we are doing really well on the CRM business, and we are doing really well on the platform business. Time will tell if the brand needs a change. By the way, on the IdeaExchange we put out this re-branding exercise as well. If you want to see how we think of re-branding, you can actually vote on it through the IdeaExchange.