1. How does Salesforce.com use cloud computing? Salesforce.com provides customer relationship management and other software applications using the software-as-a-service business model over the Internet. Cloud computing, also known as on-demand computing, eliminates the need for a business to make large up-front hardware and software investments and reduces the time to implement new programs. Subscribers to Salesforce.com don’t have to purchase or maintain any hardware (albeit personal computing devices) nor do they have to install any special operating systems, database servers, or application servers.
Other than the monthly user subscription fee, businesses reduce their licensing and maintenance fees. Users access the Salesforce.com cloud through a standard Web browser or a mobile handheld device. Businesses using the Salesforce.com’s cloud have an easier time scaling their system as they increase or decrease their workforce – they adjust the number of subscriptions to the cloud. Salesforce.com offers some customization of its software so a business can adjust the software to unique business processes. It offers three types of clouds: Sales cloud, service cloud, and the custom cloud. The sales and service clouds help businesses improve sales and customer service. The custom cloud provides a venue for customers to develop their own applications for use within the broader Salesforce network.
2. What are some of the challenges facing Salesforce as it continues its growth? How well will it be able to meet those challenges? Salesforce.com faces the challenge of increased competition from traditional software methods and new services from current companies that try to replicate Salesforce.com’s business model. It also faces the challenge of expanding its services into other areas that allow business users to complete more necessary tasks. It is uncertain whether Salesforce.com will be able to meet the challenges. By implementing new, beneficial services that other CRM products do not offer, Salesforce.com can overcome the competition from leading service providers. Because Salesforce.com is partnered with Google, the implementation of new services, such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Talk, and Google Calendar will be easy and cost-effective.
3. What kinds of businesses could benefit from switching to Salesforce and why? Agricultural, construction, manufacturing, retail, information, and real estate businesses could all benefit from switching to Salesforce. Each of these business types requires a method for keeping records of sales and handling sales information. All of the sales information could be stored in one place, Salesforce.com, and be managed by any authorized business employee.
4. What factors would you take into account in deciding whether to use Salesforce.com for your business? I would mainly consider the fact that “renting” the use of software, rather than purchasing a tangible copy, would save my business a significant amount of funds. The installation of software and the installation/configuration of hardware would be unnecessary, which would also decrease the amount of time to implement the software into the business. With Salesforce.com, the implementation time can be as little as a few days, unlike purchasing a copy of the product, which can take months. I would also consider the possibility of service outages and whether they would drastically affect the performance of my business.
5. Could a company run its entire business using Salesforce.com and App Exchange? Explain your answer. A company could run its entire business using the combination of Salesforce.com and App Exchange. Salesforce.com supports applications or add-ons that are capable of the following functions: Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, Finance and Administration, Human Resources. The latter functions are the necessities to run a business. App Exchange also allows functions like IT Management and Partner Relationship Management. These functions add to the list of services that are necessary or beneficial to running a business
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