SM: From what I’m seeing, the CRM and related systems, for instance, is one of the areas where an enterprise buys largely public cloud solutions. Of course, there are other big silos which people are procuring largely from public cloud solutions, talent management and various other management areas, and then there’s a long-tail application development that’s going on that’s using platform-as-a-service to enhance some of these core applications that are being dropped in as public cloud solutions. Is that consistent with what you’re seeing?
PR: Yes. That’s another slice of how you can look at it. If you look at where the first adoption of a cloud platform was in a true SaaS form, it was on the CRM side with Force.com. Prior to that, it was probably something like payroll. Then if you go further back and say what kind of app lends itself better, you saw the talent management app was also being offered. So, enterprise penetration was already there for SaaS apps. When you think about it, these are SaaS providers, and these apps were being consumed. They were not necessarily as customizable inside the enterprise.
What’s happening is the shift is happening with internal enterprise apps, now where [with] apps inside the enterprise [they] are also saying, I don’t necessarily need to consume a public-facing app in that fashion when I have built a custom app, why can’t I leverage the cloud for doing that, for the reasons I just talked about. So, the slice you’re [talking about] is absolutely accurate in the sense that what you saw with CRM and Force.com, and what you saw with talent management, those were the kinds of apps that lent themselves to be consumed in a SaaS form. Also, people are mobile. They have to access them in different form factors.
That adoption is definitely happening, but on the long-tail side, where you want to take down silos; you want to do better integration; you want to use Burst. In those kinds of areas we’re seeing enterprise apps … and [people] saying, how do I leverage a particular portion of the cloud? This is going beyond virtualization and companies that look at the IaaS, infrastructure-as-a-service, side where they were looking at private cloud and the primary emphasis was on the virtualization of an app. That’s where we’re seeing companies go and see what they can get from their private cloud providers in some fashion.
From a past perspective, if you see a cluster of applications inside of an enterprise, and you see the different pain different pain points across these apps, some of them being flexibility, some of them being they’re using the cost for the Burst, some of them being time-to-implement when it comes to a new application, that’s where we’re seeing that PaaS is being very well leveraged because PaaS is not a product; it is a collection of services.
SM: Yes. So, let me ask you for your perspective on another trend we’re seeing. There seems to be a big shift going on inside of enterprises away from migration out of Lotus Notes as a productivity platform. This is moving people in – largely I am seeing them moving in two directions. One is in the direction of Microsoft. The other is in the direction of Google actually, Google Apps, Google Docs and so forth. Is this something that you are tracking? Is this something that you can comment on?
PR: Sure. We have a substantial amount of business that comes out of migration from those to SharePoint and to the Office platform. I do think that as an enterprise platform, Google hasn’t really evolved as much. While there is a lot of buzz and talk about it, the scale and the usability of Microsoft applications, be it everything from the word processing suite to the communication suite, which is Exchange and Lync and all of them, is very robust. That shift is definitely, I would say, skewed in favor of Microsoft.
PR: It is happening, though. I think that the Notes system and the Notes business is a dying business.
SM: Yes. Your point is well taken that there are definitely some gaps in Google’s offering in Google Apps, but there is also a substantial amount of business going to Google, from what I gather, because of the incredible cost structure that they have created.
PR: It’s free, yes, it is free … for the most part.