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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Mal Postings, CTO, IT Advisory Services, Ernst & Young (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, Nov 4th 2011

Sramana Mitra: Help me to understand. We have several camps going on in this movement, the email to collaboration to Intranet movement. There’s, as you said, the Microsoft camp. There is the IBM camp, which is struggling right now because of Lotus Notes. But there are some other camps, like Salesforce.com. Where do you see them fitting into this landscape? Where do you see Google fitting into this landscape? Google has actually won because of their collaboration features. What happens when it goes to the Internet? What happens when there are more applications to be developed on their app engine? That’s already four different camps. Are there other camps that we need to be aware of? Could you give a high-level directional view on this?

Mal Postings: Again, it’s a great question. We’re now moving away from the email, collaboration, Intranet kind of argument. Now, you’re talking about software development. Salesforce.com has been leading IT companies the past two or three years. Absolutely, Salesforce.com is a CRM type solution that people can buy. There’s a reason why companies are adopting Salesforce.com. It’s because the business unit, not the CIO on the IT side of the fence, the business units are saying, You know what? CRM is not a differentiated service for us. I get this at so much per user per month. I know through my own mathematics that I can get this cheaper than what you’re providing it for as an IT department. So, the CIO’s getting a bit worried that the business users are seeing this new cloud provider.

Salesforce.com is really good at generic CRM-type services. Here’s my argument: They can do your calendaring and all this kind of thing. But bear in mind that Salesforce.com has already got the links into Google and Gmail. So, if you wanted to go with Microsoft for your email, and you wanted to go to Salesforce.com [for your CRM], that’s really tricky, because Google and Salesforce.com have already got these links.

SM: Let me interject this one question. Is that likely to remain as a link, this Google–Salesforce.com link? Are we expecting that Salesforce.com will make an acquisition or something to fill in that email and collaboration suite, the Office suite and all that, to bring that into their own environment?

MP: All I can say is today, Salesforce.com is working really well with Google. They’ve worked behind the scenes in that integration. That means identity, security, privacy and everything are worked out. If you, as a company, want to really stick with Microsoft and do your CRM with Salesforce.com, you have to make that glue yourself between these two environments. Again, in the market, what we’re seeing is the traditional one-stop outsourcing or the one-stop ERP.

We’re moving into a world of individual components which are really good in the individual component execution. That needs more sophisticated integration. But what we’re seeing is some of these “as a services” in the cloud, some of these providers, are already getting their heads together in their own back rooms and saying, If you go Salesforce.com, you go Google, we have an integrated solution. It’s not like you’re buying one service. You’re buying three or four services. But these three or four services, through the cloud, have already worked out how to tightly integrate themselves. So, it’s not like you’re buying one ERP or one big outsourcing deal. It’s all about cloud – but hang on. Some of these cloud providers are moving into networks or ecosystems. They’re already doing that thing behind the scenes.

If I’m a company, and I’m adamant that I want to sit in Microsoft, but I want to [also] use Salesforce.com, I may have to develop that link because it’s not inherent in what they’re offering today.

SM: You’re saying that if you make the choice of going with Salesforce.com as your CRM system, you’d be better off having Google as your email and office documents collaboration system because there the link is much stronger. With Microsoft, the link with Salesforce.com is not very strong.

MP: Yes. We need to be aware of all the emerging alliances for all these cloud providers. You might have 20 choices, but behind the scenes, we need to be aware that these 20 companies are already working in back offices and integrating their solutions.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Mal Postings, CTO, IT Advisory Services, Ernst & Young
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Can you differentiate between the collaboration and intranet ideas you're having. Are we talking remotely hosted collaboration systems moving over to intranet infrastructures or something else?

Barry Friday, November 4, 2011 at 3:35 PM PT

I think there is a lot more going on in the Intranet than just collaboration functions. The Intranet is typically a place where business-specific custom long-tail applications tend to live.

Sramana Mitra Friday, November 4, 2011 at 3:54 PM PT