Posted by TFG on September 21st, 2007
Secondarily because I like the cache of linking to Nick Carr’s blog, which is an excellent 21st Century Bidness blog, by the way:
Salesforce.com, which is the flag-bearer for Software as a Service, can afford to take a very different view of the economics of business software because it is not tied to the client-server model (and, indeed, wants only to destroy that model). Its intent is to shake things up, and its vision is, not surprisingly, the most radical of the three companies. It believes that basic business software should be rebuilt from the ground up, in Web 2.0 style, through the contributions of a broad set of developers and innovators – from its own staff, from its clients, and from independent software firms. Cohesion comes at the platform level, with a shared computing infrastructure, a shared database, and a shared programming language – all under Salesforce’s control.
I’m speaking here as an extremely small business user of SalesForce. I am the absolute smallest unit on their price list, in fact. And I’m here to tell you that for all that high-falutin’ 21st Century Bidness bullshit bandied about above, I’ve never been more disappointed about my tee-tiny’s company’s dollars winging their way out of our pocket-book. Let me just tell you that the ‘broad set of developers and innovators’ have a long damn way to go to reach the most dumbed-down level of open-source software available today. That is, open-source, as in “free.” As in, you could run it on that AMD K6 PC you’ve got on the shelf over the workbench, free.
You can talk Web 2.0 all you want until the cows come home, but when you start subtracting features from the software you sold me, and telling me I have to change a 10 year-old workflow* and break every other connection I’ve built, and make your “radical” business model the center of my universe — well, buster, you can be sure I shan’t be re-upping in a month or two. I’m the center of the universe in my eensy-weenie bidness world. Just as my customers are my Sol.
Details? I’ll give you details…
A. Until something better comes along, Outlook is the one and only calendaring, contacting, to-doing, and emailing application. I cannot stand Outlook, but there it is. It’s there, where it is, becuase it
b) Syncs with my Palm Treo. My boon companion. Only leaves my side when I lay my fat head down to sleep. I re-charge, it re-charges. Simple enough, right? So that’s two devices that must talk to each other, and hey, lucky old me, I found a third that works into that simple little network of thingies, and that’s the
3 – CardScan machine, which simply scans business cards, for the low price of about $200. This is vital, as I will be at a trade-show next week doing about 20 different, isolated meetings, with about 50-60 different people, and I have zero desire to spend a day typing those into Outlook by hand, nor do I desire to hire a large-breasted weak-willed blonde of 30 who has the hots for old fat bald guys (OK, I do desire it, but circumstances preclude that) to do the typing for me. But yon CardScan has the added bonus of syncing those machine-scanned cards with my Outlook, which syncs with my Treo, and we have a lovely three-node network. To which, I chose to spend a significant sum and network with
IV. SalesForce, which once did sync with Outlook quite loverly, but has decided not to anymore. Oh, they’ll tell you they sync. Problem is, you have to go to SFDC (their cute shorthand) and enter everything in by hand first and then they’ll send everything to your Outlook database, which can then be sent to your Treo. As noted, I have zero desire to spend a day typing those into ANY FUCKING THING by hand, nor do I desire to hire a large-breasted weak-willed blonde of 30 who has the hots for old fat bald guys (OK, I do desire it, but circumstances ($$$) preclude that) to do the typing for me. OK, I’m starting to repeat myself.
Point is, I’ve been doing exactly the above since at least 1999. It gripes my ass to no end to have Salesforce come along and say to me that “Hey dude, you just spent major bucks with us and you identified syncing as a MAJOR MUST-HAVE to make the choice to spend those bucks, so we’re going to cripple our software and make you do everything on our website first before you can do anything else.” Well, I’ve been doing this a lot longer than Salesforce has, and frankly, I’m not going to stop entering contacts into my Palm on the plane, and entering contacts into my Outlook at home, and scanning 100 business cards in one hour at the office, and then SYNCHRONIZING them all between each other seamlessly and easily with no loss of data — just so I can get a Web 2.0 drag-and-drop Ajaxed interface into mail-merge. You ain’t that good, daddy-o.
Let me rephrase that — you may be that good, but you’re not that good for 21st Century Bidness — I’ll see you in two or three years when I have all those executive admins running around looking for ways to make me happy, just like I did in the 20th Century.
Oh, and I’ll be going back to the open-source free crap for making cool pie-charts out of an SQL database (which my dog could probably write) for the quarterly investor reports. Maybe even Google docs. Maybe even nothing more than a yellow legal pad and some markers.
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