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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Marc Ferrentino, CTA Of Salesforce (Part 6)

Posted on Thursday, Jul 21st 2011

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Siddharth Garg

Marc Ferrentino: This is a very slick drag-and-drop kind of workflow tool that we were able to acquire, and that technology was then ported onto our platform. All of a sudden, that technology inherits everything underneath; it inherits our lasting database, and inherits the ability to publish it within a website, publish it within a customer photo. It inherits multilingual email capability, and it inherits everything that is on that platform, so as we begin to bring this technology on, it becomes that much better, automatically. In this case, one plus one is three. And it has been an incredible thing to watch because we have our development team that is putting out features, and then we are acquiring and integrating new features. So our pace of innovation is incredible. The velocity of it is really staggering; I have never seen it before.

I don’t think many people have. Many people aren’t paying attention, so they are caught up in a software as a service marketing, which is powerful stuff, but underneath the cover, there are just amazing things happening from a technology standpoint. There is truly a kind of lever that is being pulled by allowing us to grow and where technology can innovate a pace that I am not sure any other enterprise company has, and if you ask any of our customers, when they talk about Salesforce, they talk not about buying a product but getting on a train.

You are in for a ride, and what they mean by that is that we have three releases in a year, and those releases have hundreds of features in them. And now that we have our development team and are acquiring so many companies, the pace of those features – there are so many, so fast. Our customers can’t even absorb them all because there are so many, which is a good thing, probably. It is one of those high-end problems, right? It’s high-class problem to have because everyone wants more features that last.  The idea of those features being there and people wanting to take advantage of them is what drives the train, and that is really great.

Sramana Mitra: Yes, it sounds great. But it is excruciatingly difficult to do, right?  We are very familiar because we ran our One Million by One Million strategy roundtables on a weekly basis for almost two years on Dimdim, and we just had the acquisition apps and we then switched to vieview, but when you bring in a Dimdim, that is completely a foreign architecture. It was not built with Saleforce.com in mind, it was not built on Force.com, so when you institute a company Dimdim with your architecture, what is going on under the hood?

MF: When you bring in something like Dimdim or Sitemasher on the site during the diligence process, we obviously take a long time, looking at the technology itself and looking at the architecture. We are really sizing up some level of compatibility from a philosophy standpoint, and also from things like persistence and stake and how it is scaled, all those different pieces of the puzzle. We bought companies where we had to rip them out and pieces get thrown away, and you wind up starting to use a lot of the multitenant services that are already there. I will give you a really simple example.

Let’s say we acquire a company. We acquire a company that has a persistence layer, and that persistence layer of course stores everything from user information to state and so forth. Well, that persistence layer would most likely be replaced by the broad-based cloud or Salesforce.com persistence player, right? It’s not exactly a one-to-one swap, but it’s pretty close. There is functionality that may not operate the exact same way, but the basic concept of having all persistence is quite the reverse. The one that is a multitenant, highly elastic persistent player. Then of course authentication and all these pieces replaces their user login in with ours and go through the applications piece by piece, and seeing what can be used out of the pro-based platform services and what is just going to sit on top. And being on top, I am not talking about Saleforce.com. These are things that being pulled into the platform, and they adjust to the platform.

SM: OK.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Marc Ferrentino, CTA Of Salesforce
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