All the major cloud solution providers seem to agree that offering a cloud application platform is a key differentiator for customers implementing cloud solutions, with salesforce pushing force.com, SAP offering the HANA Cloud Platform and NetSuite offering their cloud platform as well. What is the recently launched salesforce 1 Platform bringing to the table?
salesforce is rolling out its new salesforce 1 platform with many new features, including single sign-on (often underrated!) and a private app exchange (crucial for large companies).
But the single most important change is a shift in philosophy to an “API First” approach, making it more open, extensible and public. salesforce is increasing the number of APIs tenfold, across the whole spectrum:
Why is that so important? Because developers need to be able to change and enhance any customer facing solution to their needs – not because the solution is broken, but because every customer targets different end customers, has different solutions, offers different services or has a unique differentiation (hopefully!), requiring the solution to be slightly adjusted.
It doesn’t mean that customers should “reinvent” the sales process or case management – all the leading CRM solutions have plenty of best practices baked in, some more than others. But if you want more from your CRM solution than “me-too”, especially with multi-tenancy cloud solutions, you have to adapt it to your unique differentiation. That requires access to everything – having APIs just for the “typical” transactions is not enough!
And with developers as the “new king makers”, making all the APIs public is a bold difference to the software solutions commonly in use in many big enterprises today.
This open, extensible and public API approach will even gain more importance in the future, as the device-to-device interaction gains traction: The ability to connect your product in the hands of your end customers directly to your customer supporting solution enables you to enhance your offering with customer specific, real-time services and drastically enhance your differentiation!
I view the salesform 1 platform as a bold offering – time will tell what customers will be able to achieve with it!