Google and Salesforce.com: Now, That's SaaS-y!
Did someone say Web 2.0? Did someone say Software as a Service? Did someone
say cloud computing, or utter some other already hackneyed buzzword?
Oh, yes, someone did say all those things this week with the celebrity marriage
of Salesforce.com and Google, two of the industry's Webby young superstars.
The two SaaS evangelists finally exchanged vows of sorts this week, announcing
an agreement through which Salesforce.com will sell Google Apps with the
Salesforce.com-hosted CRM (customer relationship management -- but you knew
the synergies flowing now! Salesforce.com is a legitimate SaaS success story
and huge player in CRM, and Google is...well, Google. Surely, this must spell
doom for Microsoft and its own hosted-slash-on-site hybrid CRM product, Dynamics
CRM Online (formerly
Dynamics CRM Live), at least in the SMB space. Right? And it might even make
a huge dent in Microsoft Office, too, if Google Apps is readily available as
a replacement inside another popular service. Right?
Well, not everybody is so sure, and we're in the skeptics' camp, too. Why?
First off, we're in agreement -- as we so often are -- with RCP magazine
Josh Greenbaum, who sums
up our feelings rather well. Says Josh in one of his blogs:
"It's hard to imagine that adding a tab inside Salesforce.com for
Google Apps is going to do that much to add value to either partner, and making
Salesforce.com available as an online service with the Google Apps family
would add some hype-factor to Salesforce's marketing, but I'm having trouble
looking at the nascent Google Apps user base as a channel for Salesforce.com."
Josh and RCPU aren't the only skeptics out there, either. Others have noted
that, among other concerns, Google Apps still isn't
"all that" functionality-wise -- at least not enough to supplant
Microsoft Office, as bloated as Office might be.
Besides, as we've said many times before, companies already have huge investments
in Microsoft technology, and their customers and partners do, too. We're not
saying that Salesforce.com and Google won't have a happy honeymoon; their pairing
will probably meet with some success (and we'll be interested to see whether
it leads to Google buying its CRM partner at some point).
But it won't be anything close to a knockout blow to Dynamics CRM Online, which,
if anything, will probably steal market share from Salesforce.com now that Microsoft
finally has an SMB-targeted, hosted CRM offering. And as for Office, well, it's
just embedded in our work culture now, and some semi-nifty apps from Google
worked into a CRM service isn't going to change that all that much.
The Google-Salesforce.com marriage is SaaS-y; it makes for good Internet fodder.
It's all Web 2.0 and cloud computing and anti-Microsoft -- enough to send the
blogosphere into rapturous jubilation. But in the real world of the enterprise,
it's much closer to being just another hook-up than it is to being the wedding
of the century.
What's your take on the impact that an expanded Google-Salesforce.com partnership
will have? Sound off at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Lee Pender on April 15, 2008 at 11:54 AM