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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Marc Ferrentino, CTA Of Salesforce (Part 9)

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 26th 2011

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Siddharth Garg

Marc Ferrentino: Well, going beyond the Salesforce app exchange and just to come to the space as a whole, I still think there are cloud management solutions. I think that is an interesting place and there are only a handful of solutions out there to keep the cloud vendors honest.  There are opportunities in managing different cloud vendors. There are other cloud-based integration solutions, and I think there is little there in the industry. You have companies like Boomi. Capgemini has a Cog software offering.  I would like to see more and better solutions there.  There is single sign-on or journey management in the cloud. I would like to see more of those. I think it would be much more interesting. We need to have more of those. There is only one person out there who has been doing it, but I would like to see more of that.

There are a lot of management portions in the equation. There is room to play there, and they get funded pretty easily, too, in a lot of cases. Usually, it is easy to make an argument for them. So, as more people adopt more cloud services, there are going to be more cloud services to manage. Right now, we at Salesforce have our own way of managing the cloud. Amazon has their own way of managing the cloud. Google has their way of managing the cloud, and if you decide to buy many, then that is a lot of cloud to manage.

Sramana Mitra: Right, this is a fine opportunity. This is a need that I am hearing over and over again. You have just reinforced something I have heard from a few other people as well. The ability to manage all these disparate cloud applications is something, and it is getting quite cumbersome, and solutions will be needed to manage everything.

MF: Yes, you are talking about provisioning, single sign-on, ratio. All those pieces are part of that broader concept, and just managing them in general, this means they stay honest. We have a saying at Salesforce that all the clouds are pretty much equal. A lot of things we have in Salesforce – we are an enterprise company – we have been doing this for a long time. We have a lot of robust processes in place. We have the scale to really offer a high level of service, but not every cloud provider can. So, the need to keep them honest is very real.

SM: Also, I think today enterprises are typically not asking a lot of questions about security and SLA and so on, backups and data loss and all of that, because people are of assuming that if you are a cloud provider, you have more or less taken care of it. Perhaps that is misplaced trust. It does need to be evaluated more stringently.

MF: Yes, it is trust that should be earned, not given. That is what we believe. That is how we have always approached it. Some of us do it because when we started doing this, no one trusted the cloud, right?

SM: Right.

MF: We put a lot of things in place in a lot of processes and technologies and parts of our organization to ensure that trust is earned. Over the last two years, because of the cloud phenomenon, that trust has been given freely by a lot of organizations, and it is not justified. I completely agree with that in a lot of cases, so that is definitely an area in which a lot of companies could use some help.

SM: And the infrastructures, to evaluate whether that trust is legitimate or not, it doesn’t exist.

MF: Exactly. That being said, a lot of our companies, a lot of our customers still do data center tours, still do security reviews every year. We examine our prophesies, so there is a mix up, there are some organizations that are very diligent about this and some organizations that are not. We have a huge team that is dedicated to handling these customer requests, actually, and I can’t imagine a small cloud provider even having the infrastructure to handle such requests.

SM: Absolutely. Very difficult. I think I have covered most of what I wanted to discuss with you, is there anything else you think we should have covered?

MF: Let me see, we talked about social enterprise, the platform as a whole.

SM: Platform as a service.

MF: Platform as a service, every structure as a service. Shadow IT we talked about briefly. Citizen developer, we didn’t talk about the term. We use it to describe the business analyst in the business, but I think you got that concept. It is not a hard concept. I just wanted to point out the term because we say it so much. I think that is a good list.

This segment is part 9 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Marc Ferrentino, CTA Of Salesforce
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