Salesforce.com 2.0…Ala Siebel

Joshua Greenbaum, a personnel favorite of mine, wrote a great blog today on some of the emerging trends we’re seeing in the CRM market today, particularly with Salesforce.com and CRM 2.0.

I’ve always been a big history buff, partially because I’m a dork when it comes to history but more because it provides perspective on what’s happening today and what we can expect in the immediate future. That said, I couldn’t agree more with Greenbaum’s comments, particularly with his comparison of Salesforce.com to Siebel.

To add to that comparison, Salesforce.com has left an indelible mark on the business software industry, but its CEO’s comments speak eerily of similar remarks made by the likes of Tom Siebel nearly 10 years ago when he proclaimed that the ASP model was not a viable business model. Siebel was both right and wrong, as the vast majority of businesses, and nearly all enterprise organizations, still prefer and probably always will prefer to house, manage, and run their mission-critical applications themselves. He was wrong for underestimating the advantages that a hosted model brings to a business environment when the situation calls for it. Will IT departments in business ever become as simple as having an Internet connection? I seriously doubt it.

Benioff is correct in asserting that businesses are looking for sheer flexibility, but just like Tom Siebel before him, there’s a fundamental misunderstanding on his part that that flexibility lies outside the realm of his company’s own software model – on-demand applications.

Speaking to Greenbaum’s point: such flexibility includes integration…something that the multi-tenant SaaS model severely lacks.