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An Enterprise Cloud Is More Than Just a Stack of Servers in a Datacenter

I enjoyed this Forbes piece from Brad Peters who brings an interesting perspective from his previous life with Siebel.  He describes how a traditional on-premise app vendor, who saw their lunch being stolen by, struggled to react to this new competition.

Commenting on Oracle’s recent quarterly results Brad suggests that a “cobbled together portfolio of products internal and acquired” maybe isn’t proving to be a strategic choice for moving to the Cloud.  That view is consistent with what we’re seeing at where our customers are making a strategic choice of cloud platform first and then evaluating specific apps that fit in with that strategy.

Sure there are some fundamental technical benefits from cloud platforms around security, scaling, reduced environmental impact, etc but I believe our customers are making the move to the Salesforce platform because of the huge leap in functional capabilities on offer.  To consider cloud adoption as purely an IT infrastructure project means you are in great danger of taking an old on-premise app and simply choosing to run it somewhere else – hardly earth shattering and little prospect of giving you a boost in competitive advantage.

If the business apps you choose don’t give you more capabilities, give your business more agility, pave the way for better processes and give you new ways to better serve your customers and your own organization then I think we’ve missed the point here.  What’s behind the current major upheaval to the established order of enterprise software vendors is not simply a cost saving exercise to re-deploy some existing functionality from the server room to a data center. No, what we are seeing is a vote in favor of the next generation of services running on multi-tenant enterprise cloud platforms offering greatly enhanced capabilities designed to serve a new generation of customers, suppliers and employees.

So when you are choosing a Cloud platform for your business, look for what capabilities the platform itself inherently offers beyond what you are able to do today.  Examples of these capabilities might include native support for mobile and tablet devices, customer and supplier portals with embedded social capabilities, point and click integration, cross departmental workflow, and the ability to customize and build your own apps.  Then once you’ve found the platform on which to run your business as a whole, you can pick the specific apps that will exploit those capabilities to the full.

Or maybe you have the time to build all that capability yourself?

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