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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Google, Salesforce.com & Enterprise Information

Salesforce.com’s foray into content management space has made different people look at the development in many different ways. I was slightly amused to see Nick Carr’s perspective that this could lead to a fight between Google & Salesforce.com!! I think that Nick is probably overlooking several issues here:

A. SFDC is far more entrenched than Google within its customer base
B. Google’s non paying customer base far exceeds it s paying customer base by several degrees as against SFDC’ s paid subscribers.
C. There’s a business model issue here – Hosted solution is a defacto one for Google as against SFDC selling hosted solution as part of its value proposition.
D. Google & SFDC are currently working on API’s that can extend their applications reach (for that matter every other hosted solution player is trying this)
E. Google does not offer content management facility for its customers – though it has by al means built an excellent content management system that it uses internally in applications like news.google.com or finance.google.com. There’s no mention that Google may make this available in future for its customers – if that happens, with API extensions, it would be a serious play – no competition can expect to come anywhere closer to it – in terms of its capabilities and feature list
F. Google Apps Premier, is on paper extending new enterprise level customization and integration capabilities. Google’s partners are said to be developing a variety of solutions based on its APIs, including email gateways, enhanced security, Google Calendar synchronization, third-party integration with Google Talk, as well as offering deployment, migration, and additional support services.
G. SFDC’s sales machinery and customer relationships may appear to give it a leg-up but Google’s search capabilities and whole host of new offering would endear it more to customers

While with Google Apps, Google may end up creating new forth like what SFDC did with its entry year back – I do not see SFDC acquiring these capabilities across the board to be in reckoning for competing with Google – Clearly Google's ability to manage content is streets ahead and Marc Benioff would know this for sure. In fact it is entirely possible for Google to technically aggregate its products and features and deploy a pretty strong strategy in many markets - potentially taking SFDC head on.It could be a case of minimal unavoidable overlaps but both these smart players know where not to tread into each others(s) shoes. Is there a case for these two players to work together - very much given SFDC's enteprise reach and Google's engineering prowess in harnessing information.

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