Sramana Mitra: In general then, you’re saying that in all your use cases in all the different sectors where you’ve built solutions, it is either Siebel replaced or a custom-built replacement.
David Schmaier: There are other providers we replace like Amdocs and other older, crummy systems. I would say it’s either industry on premise or custom.
Sramana Mitra: What I would like to do is get your input on where the open problems are. Given the context that you’ve set so far, if you were starting a company today, what areas would you point them towards?
David Schmaier: Let’s take your AI comments. We’re actually going to show some brand new software at Dreamforce that we’re launching with Salesforce. Without giving away the news, it’s a line of industry-specific analytics so that on top of all these workflows and business processes, we can now mine that data and tell you things about what’s going on. This industry-specific Big Data is a big opportunity. What we’re going to start showing is newer and smarter engines. You can mine the customer profiles and do very clever things. You can also make your service handling smarter based on the heuristics of prior similar kinds of service problems. I think Big Data as supplied in the cloud is a huge opportunity.
There’s a related opportunity to this, which is the Internet of Things. If we want to do smart things with data, it implies that you have very good data. Now, what’s very interesting is you can get data from your toaster, car, or MRI device. You have the Internet of Things generating all this data and you have these Big Data engines. There was this term years ago in the BI software market called insights to action where you learn what’s going on and then you do smarter things. I think that was a good line, but it was all manual. People would look at these charts, graphs, and spreadsheets, and then figure out everything because they’re really smart and do smart things. Where we’re going is the software now is automatically interpreting that and naturally guiding people to do smarter things. It’s the next generation of insight to action. Everything that we use is going to get really smart.
Sramana Mitra: If you take that logic further, my thesis is that it’s not even going to be insights to action as in it’s not going to be insights that are going to be provided to humans to take action. It’s going to be further automation that the system itself is going to take action based on that kind of insight. We’re not quite there yet. It’s going to take longer.
David Schmaier: I’m a big fan of this guy, Ray Kurzweil. He published this book, Singularity is Near. I saw him speak recently at a cloud CEO conference. It was fascinating. He talked about the machine learning becoming one with human intelligence.