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dreamforce demonstrates innovation in cloud computing.

by Michael Maoz  |  November 4, 2008  |  1 Comment

I both attended and spoke at my first dreamforce event. Almost 9,000 customers and partners from 40 countries came to attend over 250 sessions. Mine, on the future of customer service, was standing-room-only, which demonstrates that has solidly outgrown its roots in sales force automation. The company reports 47,000+ paying customers and added 4,100 net-new customers in 2008 so far. Almost 30 percent of them are trying Customer Service functionality of one form or another. The buzz around Cloud Computing and creating useful business applications that I saw and heard at the conference was in stark contrast to most of the sentiment in businesses overall: lots of enthusiasm about the ease of building custom applications, custom objects, and custom fields. Lots of exciting partnerships with Google, FaceBook, and Amazon. In fact, more excitement about the possibilities of business applications than I have felt at a vendor conference in the past ten years.

I don’t want to sound too enthusiastic. In my core area of customer service and support applications, I have pointed out and analyzed in my published research that Salesforce still has plenty of room for improvement. The big integrators have practically no competencies around for large call centers. There is very little support for core desktops in key business-to-consumer verticals such as Communications, Healthcare, Federal Government, or Banking. But the enthusiasm is there, and in the business-to-business world, so is the application set.

The real story is the around how is sinking roots and tendrils into multiple areas of business: by using to build business applications that exist inside of FaceBook (with it’s 120 million users), by leveraging connections with Amazon’s web services, and the new Sites, which lets you run a corporate intranet and/or the external website using

Sure, the open questions still stand about scalability and handling complex integrations and workflows for large businesses. But to see the ease of creating business applications, and the commitment of such a large number of end-users from multiple industries and geographies, toward building and sharing applications, all in the Cloud Computing model, is in and of itself one of the best and most refreshing accomplishments Marc Benioff and his team has brought to organizations.


Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on dreamforce demonstrates innovation in cloud computing.

  1. Steve Kemler says:


    I was apparently lucky enough to get a seat at your talk. Working in the Service group for a Healthcare company, I largely agree with the points you make about Salesforce in my area. We have had good luck with our custom build out, but out of the box Salesforce did not meet our needs.

    Thanks for the talk and if you have the opportunity I would recommend that you do it again next year. I appreciated hearing a talk on the Service business in general. There was more than enough Salesforce specific info available, so yours was a nice change of pace.

    One request – you should make your slides available. There was a lot of great info that I would love to share with my coworkers.

    Steve Kemler

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