Benioff backs Salesforce away from the cloud

In interview at Dreamforce, Salesforce founder says the company is “not about the cloud” is seen as one of the pioneering inventors of the cloud computing market, but company co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff says Salesforce is not about the cloud.

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Here’s an excerpt of Benioff’s interview with CNBC host Jim Cramer. You can watch the full interview here, this quote comes at the 6:15 mark.

This isn’t about the cloud, Jim, and it never was about the cloud. It’s about the customer…. The cloud is about technology, and technology is transient. The technology we’re talking about today will be obsoleted in 3,4,5 years from now, it will be all new technology. What’s the one thing though that will be the same five years from now? … We’ll still be talking about the customer.

 He went on

Salesforce isn’t about the cloud. We’re of course number 1 in the CRM market, yes we did it through the cloud. We did it through social, we did it through mobile… we’ve done it through data science, and we’re doing it through the internet of things. And that is what Salesforce is. It’s helping you connect with your customers in a whole new way.

Cramer was trying to appoint Benioff and Salesforce the “King of Cloud” but Benioff wouldn’t allow it. It makes me wonder, why is Benioff backing away from the cloud?

screen shot 2015 09 17 at 3.36.26 pm

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says the company that helped pioneer the cloud computing market is "not about the cloud" anymore. 

Is it perhaps because some customers don’t like the idea of all their data living in the cloud because of security concerns? Is it because Benioff knows that technology – even a technology like the cloud – could be disrupted by new technology down the line? Is it because “the cloud” is an amorphous term?

Actually I think it’s because Benioff doesn't want to be pigeon-holed into being a “cloud company.” Obviously Salesforce wants to be known as the customer company. But what does that really mean? It basically means that Salesforce is a data company. And it stores that data in the cloud. The cloud is actually just data centers, some of which are operated by Salesforce, others by Oralce and Microsoft.

Given the fact that Salesforce embraces the cloud, and the SaaS-business model as good as, if not better than all of its major competitors (Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, IBM), in my opinion Benioff has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to being called a cloud company.

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