Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff Details Vision for Salesforce1

NEW YORK—Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff kicked off the Salesforce1 world tour in New York City, explaining how the mobile-centered Salesforce1 platform fits with the larger technological advances in the industry. "How do you become a customer company?" Benioff asked, pacing through the aisles of a circular stage. "We've been asking this question for a long time. We do this by introducing a dramatically new customer platform."

Benioff fleshed out additional details of Salesforce1 for an audience of users, partners, investors, press, and analysts, the minority of which attended Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco in November. He described the origin of Salesforce1 as a request he made to Fergus Griffin, senior vice president of product, to have an "enterprise software company with 100 percent of my functionality on my mobile device," Benioff stated.

During the keynote, he demonstrated steps Salesforce.com has taken to work toward that goal. The good news for partners and developers is that the APIs have ten times the functionality, as well as over 230 calls and methods for metadata and user interface APIs. Two thousand applications were pre-integrated with Salesforce1. Partners with apps tailored to Salesforce1 include DocuSign, Hewlett Packard ePrint, Xactly, and Kenandy. ADP and CAT have built custom, internal mobile apps for their employees on the platform. With DocuSign, for example, customers can use the e-signature solution within the Salesforce1 app.

Salesforce1's app structure will help prevent the annoyance of having to download and toggle between multiple mobile apps. The result is an "expanded ecosystem...[and] single point of authentication with mobile UI," Benioff stated. "It looks like Facebook or Twitter, but isn't; it's their enterprise application."

During the first month of the Salesforce1 release, there was a 96 percent increase in monthly active users of the Salesforce1 mobile app within the Salesforce1 Customer Platform, as well as a 46 percent increase in monthly active users of the Salesforce Mobile SDK.

During a live demo, Amanda Leet, the vice president of marketing for the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, showed how Sony is able to trigger emails based on certain actions, like winning a trophy on a Playstation 4 game or entering a geofenced area. The visual, maplike interface helped simplify the process of triggering actions and allowed marketers to see where an individual customer is on their journey. "It is our belief that marketers are leading the Internet of customers," Leet stated during her portion of the talk. "The smartphone has become the dashboard of our lives." She also revealed that on Cyber Monday, over one billion transactions occurred on ExactTarget.

Salesforce.com had its first billion-dollar quarter in Q3, and enjoyed 36 percent growth, facts highlighted by Benioff. "In our industry, growth is precious and hard to get," he stated. Unmentioned was the bearish view many investors have taken of Salesforce.com's stock. Back in November, the announcement of the first billion-dollar quarter was followed by a 5 percent decrease in stock price. Investors were unhappy with the low earnings, as Salesforce.com poured money into marketing and software development that have eaten into short-term profits. Benioff held a more optimistic view. "This is the most magical time in our industry ever. I've never seen more innovation, change, or advancements," he said.

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