Last week I was at a conference for the Force United consortium, which is focused on helping companies build their software on the Salesforce1 Platform. The founders include Kenandy, ServiceMax and Apttus (I recently wrote a profile on Apttus).
I’m a big fan of startups building on solid platforms. In today’s hypercompetitive world, it is critical to get to market quickly as well as have a best-of-breed product. If not, it will likely be impossible to get traction, even if a market is in the growth mode.
So at the Force United conference, I got to see first-hand how the Salesforce1 platform strategy can be a big-time winner. Keep in mind that some of the supporters at the event included executives from GE and Coca-Cola Enterprises CCE -0.57%. They were certainly singing the praises of the approach.
“We get instant access to things like social networking and mobile when Saleforce.com updates its system,” said Kamal Ahluwalia, who is the CMO of Apttus.
The platform is also enterprise ready, meeting the rigorous standards for security – across the globe. This is definitely critical for signing up large customers that are in regulated industries.
Another key benefit is that there is tremendous scale. You do not have to make huge investments in anticipation of customer growth. There is also less heavy-lifting for integration since customers are already using Salesforce.com.
Now this does not mean it is easy to spin up a successful startup. “Our system has millions of lines of code in the background,” said Sandra Kurtzig, who is the CEO of Kenandy. “But the Salesforce1 platform allows us to focus on those parts of the technology where we can better help our customers. There is also the advantage of having one code base and data object, which makes our system more efficient compared to Oracle ORCL +0.08% and SAP .”
Something else: there are some types of startups where it probably does not make sense to build on the Salesforce1 platform. Let’s face it, you probably should use an alternative if you are building the next CRM (customer relationship management) system!
But the good news is that there are many categories to target that are not directly competitive. More importantly, Salesforce.com has a lot of incentive to bolster its ecosystem.
“To be successful today,” said Sandra, “you need speed and ability. This is what the Salesforce1 platform brings us. Customers can no longer wait for long implementations. They also need mobile and social technologies – and what better partner for this than Salesforce.com?”