Make no mistake, Salesforce is a force. If you doubt it, you should have seen the Boston stop of its world tour last week. Before the sales pitch and the happy customer stories even started, Salesforce warmed up the crowd with a 10 a.m. performance by the Dropkick Muphys. After a short three-song set, the party continued with an appearance by New England Patriots head coach Bill Bellichick, who appeared in a suit and tie instead of his standard hoodie.
The world tour is an adjunct to the main event the company holds in San Francisco every September called Dreamforce, possibly the largest vendor conference out there with more than 100,000 people attending. The company pretty much takes over the city for the week and shows off all of its growing corporate power.
As though to further prove its pure economic muscle in the city by the bay, it's building a monument to its success called Salesforce Tower, right smack dab in the middle of some of the most expensive real estate in the country. You can even watch the construction progress on camera if you were so inclined.
This is a business built from the ground up to be a cloud company and as one of the earliest entries to the market, it perhaps more than any other company out there understands the nuances of all that entails.
Salesforce's building blocks
For Salesforce, it's about three elements: technology, the subscription model, and the culture the company has built around that approach. Of course you have to understand the cloud, and a company born in the cloud clearly gets how the model works, but lots of companies understand how to deliver software in the cloud at this point.
The subscription model by its nature also creates a symbiotic relationship between the vendor and the customer where the vendor is forced to answer to the customer in a way that just didn't exist in the perpetual license model. While moving enterprise software from one vendor to another is clearly not a trivial matter, even in the cloud, if the vendor fails to hold up its end of the bargain, the customer has leverage by choosing or at least threatening not to renew the deal.
The culture comes into play in that Salesforce, whatever you think of it, is very much about giving back to the community. To illustrate this it had students from the Timilty Middle School getting programming lessons at the Boston event. This is an inner city school the company supports with dollars and resources.
Boston middle school students getting programming lessons. Photo Credit: Ron Miller
You could argue that the event was preaching to the converted and you wouldn't be wrong, but perhaps the company is trying remind its customers what it has to offer. The afternoon was filled with workshops for customers to learn more about the breadth of the Salesforce product line.
As the company pursues its $10 billion a year revenue run rate, a goal it could possibly reach this year, it puts it on par with the likes of AWS as the most successful pure play cloud companies in the world. It showed that power in Boston last week and elsewhere its world tour has landed.
Photo Credit courtesy of Salesforce on Flickr.