Correcting the record

Posted: October 8, 2009 in CRM

Bob Thompson posted the following yesterday and while I don’t usually respond to this kind of thing (where do you stop?), I thought it would be good to set the record straight. My comments follow Bob’s — (and I don’t side with anyone but the truth).

Analyst sides with Salesforce.com

Submitted by bob_thompson on October 7, 2009 – 21:06.

Denis Pombriant, analyst for Beagle Research, apparently agrees with

Salesforce.com that you don’t have a real cloud computing solution

if you also provide other options.

As long as a customer has the option of multi-tenancy then I think

it’s not possible to call a solution SaaS or Cloud Computing. In an

optional setting like that the vendor still has to manage and

maintain multiple versions of the application and with that comes

all of the overhead and complexity of conventional computing.

I respect Denis a great deal (he’s on our Editorial Board) but I’m

perplexed by this position. So if a vendor is not SaaS-only, then

it’s not SaaS at all? Microsoft for one will be surprised to find

out that it’s not a SaaS vendor after all, even though it offers a

multi-tenant CRM solution. Too bad customers can choose to install

the same code, or mix and match on-premise and SaaS model.

Well, this appears to be the same logic that Salesforce.com uses to

immediately declare itself the leader in new application areas (e.g.

customer service) that have had SaaS solutions for many years.

“Cloud computing” and “SaaS” mean “how we do things at

Salesforce.com,” not what the market or customers think.

So listen up, vendors. To be the undisputed leader is actually quite

simple. Just define the market segment you want to lead in a way

that only you offer a solution that is deployed in exactly the way

you deploy it. Now every company can be a leader in markets of one.

My original post — and rebuttal — is here and says in part:

Ironically, a vendor who offers the same software as both single-tenant and multi-tenant instances straddles definitions. A customer using that software as a service in a multi-tenant mode is using a SaaS solution. But a customer using the same software tucked behind another company’s firewall in single tenant mode is simply using a conventional solution and the same can be said of a company using a single-tenant solution in some other data center — that’s just facilities management.

Bob, I love it when you quote me especially if it’s accurate.

Also Bob, the prevailing wisdom about cloud computing is that it’s more than SaaS and it includes Platform as a Service as well as Infrastructure as a Service. Reasonable people will differ but it’s hard to see how you can promote SaaS to cloud computing if you’re missing the other pieces.

Now as for this snarky gem,

“So listen up, vendors. To be the undisputed leader is actually quite

simple. Just define the market segment you want to lead in a way

that only you offer a solution that is deployed in exactly the way

you deploy it. Now every company can be a leader in markets of one.”

Bob, that's how they teach you to write press releases in J-school.  Salesforce didn't invent it nor did I.

So, what did you think?

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