SAN FRANCISCO (DreamForce 2011) — Salesforce.com and its leader, chairman and CEO Marc Benioff, have both staked their reputations on cloud computing, so it comes as no surprise that Benioff is a big proponent of software-as-a-service.
"The idea of applications and platforms as separate entities is antiquated," he said during a press conference on the final day of this year's Salesforce.com user conference. "We can't think of applications and platforms as separate any more. We need one integrated offering."
Acknowledging that his company has "done well with enterprises that want to move to the cloud," Benioff said soon all companies would have to go that route. The cloud is "the next generation of software and systems," he said.
That's one reason that Salesforce.com "has made such a huge investment in the force.com platform over the last 24 months and will continue to invest in it in the future," Benioff said. Since launching the platform last year, more than 250,000 applications have already been built around it.
Furthermore, more than 170,000 applications have already been built on the Heroku platform. And with the release of Heroku for Java, the cloud-based development platform is expected to grow. "You will see more languages emerge within Heroku," Benioff said.
And Salesforce.com is already seeing traction with its database.com cloud data storage platform. In the 12 hours following the August 31 release of database.com, more than 1,000 databases have already been provisioned to the platform, reported George Wu, executive vice president of Salesforce.com.
According to Benioff, the company is also benefiting greatly from its Radian6 acquisition earlier this year. "The hottest thing in marketing right now is social media monitoring," he said. "We were fortunate to have been able to buy the company. It has transformed Salesforce."
At the same time, Benioff touted virtual machines as "incredible, transformative" technology, letting companies "get more value from their servers."
"It's about the cloud. It's not about the software," Benioff stated.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt also stressed the value in moving to the cloud. His company has also made a significant investment in cloud technologies with its Google Documents file sharing platform, and he said companies like Salesforce "will want to continue moving toward cloud computing because customers are moving to mobile. The ease of use that previously precluded many enterprise apps is now possible because of cloud computing."