CRM and the History of Salesforce
Just over 20 years ago an Oracle employee named Tom Siebel left the technology giant Oracle in order to create Siebel Systems. He had been unsuccessful at convincing internal leadership to package and sell Oracle’s own sales application as a standalone product and only two years later, Tom had managed to create a system that closely resembled what we call CRM (Customer Relationship Management) today. Fast-forward to today: Gartner shows that CRM will increase to a $36.5B worldwide market by 2017. Gartner is also projecting that CRM will have a significant increase in growth, leading all enterprise software categories, while even surpassing the ERP worldwide market. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that many enterprises are realizing that strong customer relationships are key to long-term success of the business.
Enter Salesforce: the industry leader in CRM and one of the largest software companies in the world. Founded in 1999 by ex-Oracle executive, Marc Benioff, there are several reasons that I believe Salesforce has dominated in recent years. One aspect of Salesforce I have always been impressed with is its scalability. For many software systems out there, you need to be a large organization to be on the latest and greatest enterprise solutions. We have a community of non-profits, small business, mid-size business, and even large companies using Salesforce. The ability of the system to be able to scale up and down quickly is key.
Over the past few years Salesforce has evolved, adapted, and grown with the market. No longer is it only a tool for sales teams to use to manage contacts. It has grown into an enterprise platform, meeting the needs of sales, service, marketing, operations and even executive level employees. With hundreds of products on the Salesforce AppExchange, it’s rare that Salesforce will not meet a business’ needs. In turn, it’s really becoming a question of “what can’t Salesforce do?”
Salesforce was born in the cloud. With the popularity of the modern cloud/SaaS based subscription model, many of the big enterprise software companies have tried to enter this space and struggled. Rebuilding their entire backend and completely changing their model is easier said than done. Salesforce has a leg up here because they were born in the cloud, and have not deviated from this model. They are built on this subscription based cloud platform that has changed the way we look at software.
As the CRM market continues to grow in line with Gartner’s projections and Salesforce continues to innovate, I can only predict more growth and expansion. Salesforce’s focus on strong customer relationships and allowing for new and innovative ways to interact with customers is in line with why the CRM market has grown so much in the first place. It is truly an exciting time to be a part of the enterprise software world.
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