FinancialForce News and Insights

Cloud is Out, Mobile and Social are in

Discussions are already moving away from cloud computing and technology and towards the business value each application can deliver. Tablets and mobile applications are changing the way people see their personal and professional lives and also the way they view applications. The point is that this new breed of application, made possible by ‘the cloud’, offers genuine business value and is enabling people and departments to innovate in business in a way that has not previously been possible. While we’ve seen some growth in the economy, it is still not as certain as many companies would like. Rather than choosing to rip and replace, companies are enhancing what they’ve got and extending their cloud applications, because it’s a fast return, has a low cost of entry, and the subscription model means they can easily budget for it. The additional value add inherent in these applications means people are getting the right information to the right people at the right time as quickly as possible no matter what device they are working from. Plus, new social capabilities like Chatter provide the intuitive user experience that business people have become used to in their personal lives. It’s no surprise, given the fact that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are taking the world by storm, that this year’s main Salesforce run events Cloudforce and Dreamforce have focused on the subject of the social enterprise. What Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO, talked about in his keynotes (which could only be accessed via Facebook incidentally) wasn’t the standard definition of a social enterprise – an organization that applies capitalistic strategies to achieving philanthropic goals. Rather the fact that customers have moved to a world that’s entirely mobile, social and open and that in order to keep up with this trend, businesses need to become social enterprises. Employees at customer Mantala have timely access to information that impacts them despite it being held by another department, through Chatter. The powerful social networking tool from helps Finance professionals, for example, move from the back office to the heart of the business, enabling them to serve as effective leaders on matters such as sales opportunities and customer service problems. Before this kind of collaborative technology, some information would likely never be passed on or uncovered by the people that needed to know or not until it was too late. This way, Mantala says problems are averted, staff are always up to date and customer issues are resolved without issue, leading to better customer service and a better working environment. Sales can better manage opportunities thanks to relevant information provided by finance, without bottlenecks or time-consuming manual activities. This is quite a change from a few years ago when IT departments saw cloud as a threat. If you look at us ( as a consumer of cloud technology, it’s an interesting departure from the business structures companies used to work to. We have around 85 people working from the UK and US and others working remotely and we’re growing and recruiting rapidly. Go back 10 years and the amount of technology we would have had to deploy so the teams could collaborate effectively would have been prohibitive. We live, eat and breathe the cloud in producing applications but also in consuming them for our business. Everything is online. When somebody joins the company, they are immediately immersed in our online community, where people in different time zones, that have never actually met, feel part of the same team. This is the power of cloud computing – providing the ability for companies to develop and prosper in a way they couldn’t before. On September 27th, is running a webinar titled “How Finance can ‘get social’ with Salesforce Chatter” Also, see a recent thought leader interview with me conducted by Andrew Dailey of MGI Research (subscription required)
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