As we know, companies like HP and IBM now talk about “vertical servers” these days.
These are big old boxes of compute power that have been pre-engineered with the right mix of Input/Output (I/O) technologies, or memory-specific components, or processing power, or other.
They’re not exactly vertical as such – okay, they could be very well engineered for particular finance applications… but at the end of the day it’s still basically the same box.
Cloud companies like to play this game too.
Salesforce.com sits close to Oracle with its Human Capital Management Cloud (that’s HR, or personnel if you’re stuck in the 1970s) and so on.
So when Salesforce this week launches its Salesforce1 Community Cloud for customer engagement, should we actually expect anything new?
The firm says that customers can task their software application developers with using this product to create what it calls “trusted destinations” for customers, partners and employees.
These virtual destinations will be personalised and mobile like LinkedIn, but connected to core business processes.
“More than 2,000 active communities have gone live since we first offered a communities product just over a year ago,” said Nasi Jazayeri, executive vice president of Salesforce1 Community Cloud, salesforce.com.
Jazayeri says that based on the success his firm has seen with customers, salesforce.com is now “doubling down” on communities with its new Community Cloud.
“Any company can benefit from creating an engaged community,” said Vanessa Thompson, research director of enterprise collaboration and social solutions, IDC. “Salesforce.com raises awareness of the immense value of community solutions with Salesforce1 Community Cloud by putting business processes at the center of engagement.”
The Internet of Customers
This product forms part of what Benioff calls the so-called Internet of Customers and according to IDC, spend on collaboration tools is forecasted to grow to $3.5 billion from 2013-2018, framing the massive market for communities that could exist here and, crucially, the need for software application developers to create products for this still very growing area.
The Community Cloud is connected directly to Salesforce CRM and essential business processes. Now resellers can update leads, employees can create and escalate service cases and customers can review and rate products all from within the community.
Additionally, with new SEO optimisation and unauthenticated access, companies can now attract potential new members through their Internet search engine queries. For example, a musician can discover and join a brand’s community based on an Internet search on a specific guitar model.