Heroes Of The Cloud – Part 5
Marc Benioff has been called a pioneering “guerrilla marketer” of Software as a Service. USAToday credits him with “turning the software industry on its head” as he used the Internet to “revamp the way software programs are designed and distributed”.
Benioff grew up in San Francisco, and joined Oracle soon after graduating from USC in 1986. Unlike so many of the Silicon Valley legends, Benioff’s educational background was not in computers, but in Business Administration, although he did have a computer background as a kid. He was named Rookie of the Year at Oracle, and within three years became the company’s youngest Vice President. In March 1999, he helped to found salesforce.com, and became a leading evangelist for Software as a Service.
Salesforce.com started in a small San Francisco apartment with a stated mission of “The End Of Software”. The software/hardware debate goes back to the earliest days of personal computing and the Menlo Park Homebrew Computer Club where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak got their start. Software is the heart of the giant Microsoft as well as many other notable tech firms.
When Benioff calls for the death of software, what he means is the end of buying software and putting it on your own computer. Salesforce.com was developed on the model of Software as a Service (SaaS), where the software a business uses is accessed through the Internet on a Cloud application. Benioff’s partners in salesforce.com had previously worked on Clarify, and developed a sales automation software.
Considered a leader in enterprise cloud computing, CRM, Customer Relationship Management is the heart of salesforce.com. Their products include the Sales Cloud, the Service Cloud, the Force.com platform, Chatter, Wor.com, AppExchange, and other services.
The cloud used by salesforce.com is hosted by Oracle. In fact since leaving the company to form salesforce.com, Benioff has maintained close ties to his mentors at Oracle, but as the importance of Cloud Computing increases, the two companies find themselves as competitors, often not friendly competitors. Salesforce.com is increasing its commitment to the open-source database PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is seen as a threat to Oracle’s core database offering.
By Peter Knight
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