Monday, May 05, 2008

In India, with Force(.com) !

The Tour de Force events across the globe continue to draw great attendance and interest from developers looking to build new SaaS applications. The event is yet to make its way to India but I have been traveling across India (Pune & Bangalore) meeting with partners, educating them about Force.com and Platform as a Service generally – and the response has been tremendously positive. At one of our partners in Pune, I delivered an hour long session on PaaS and Force.com – and the result was a lot of very interesting questions and interest in this paradigm shift. A similar event in Bangalore with over 100 attendees drew a similar response.

India is Ready

There was genuine appreciation about how difficult and wasteful it is to currently build, deploy and manage software applications. This is especially true for IT outsourcing firms that month after month see ISVs and IT departments of large enterprise burn time and money on infrastructure and platform, delaying and risking delivering business value to the end users.

Across Generations

India is a country of young people – over 50% of India’s population is under 25. And presenting to various audiences – I couldn’t help but wonder how many in the audience can even remember what computing without connectivity was like. The shift from client-server to SaaS comes naturally to this generation.

More interestingly, the senior executives and technology gurus – some that wrote compilers in 1980s by hand – were even more excited about this shift. The questions and discussions revolved around how to navigate this shift and understanding the new evolving SaaS ecosystems and not whether the shift is underway.

Here is a sampling of questions:

Is There a Whitepaper on SaaS?

Yes, we do have whitepapers on SaaS and PaaS. However, whitepapers are so 90s – I encouraged our audience to learn through building and engagement with the community – blogs, online forums, how-to wiki’s, informational videos.

What Kind of Applications Can I Build on PaaS?

Even as salesforce.com started out as a CRM company, the Force.com platform is being used by our customers and partners to build out applications that cover wide variety of solutions be it Finance and Accounting (Coda), Risk Management (Riskonnect), Life Sciences (Verticals OnDemand) and many others. Business Applications that are data and process driven is where Force.com provides the most value today

What about Security?

No one asked this question – so I thought I will mention it. This question that resulted from both genuine apprehensions and FUD created by certain vendors that did not have SaaS capabilities is increasingly becoming a non-issue. I think there are two reasons for this: First, as customers use more and more SaaS applications their experience invalidates the concerns. Second, initiatives such as trust.salesforce.com that educate and inform have re-assured the community of users, developers and investors.

Really?

Yes, this question was asked a few times. For example, when I explained that Force.com is multi-tenant not just for our direct customers but also for all applications written by end users and partners – and that everyone is on the latest version of the software. The response is: Really?

Salesforce.com’s success with the platform in releasing as many as 25 major releases in last 8 years – and comparing that to once in 3 to 7 years cycle for legacy software vendors also draws a: Really?

So yes, really!

The proof is in the pudding – you are welcome to get a free developer login and build an app.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

THE ARTICLE provided me with beautiful insight of what actually you achieved for your company during your India visit. The need is to continue with this type of exercise for growth of your company.
Wish you good luck in such type of endeavors.

India forum said...

Hi anshu,

I found your post quite revealing. However, you have raised questions that you have not sufficiently answered i.e How can India solve its “basic problems”?

Thanks for your time
lucky
www.forumindia.com

Anonymous said...

Your article was very helpful, enjoyed reading it. I have currently started working on Wolf PaaS.

Indigenous, home grown, India's On_demand Platform-as-a-Service. You should have a go @ Wolf Business Solutions Platform-as-a-Service; www.wolfframeworks.com. I am loving it. Totally mashable and portable SaaS apps.

Sunder

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anshu,

I happen to be one of those that was (tangentially) involved in writing a compiler in the late 80s. I am now a Principal at Navatar Group, a global SFDC partner with presence in India (New Delhi). I totally agree with you about the excitement related to SaaS.

To add to the list of products on Force.com, we are a leading provider of Force.com products for the Financial sector (www.navatargroup.com), covering Capital Markets, Banking and Asset Management. They were covered by the Wall Street & Technology magazine at:
http://www.wallstreetandtech.com/it-infrastructure/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212701644.

We also wrote a whitepaper (free) for anyone interested in building products on Force.com. It can be downloaded at:

http://navatargroup.com/WhitePaper.html

regards
Alok Misra
www.navatargroup.com