William Adams, better known as Will.I.Am of the music group Black Eyed Peas, said he isn’t sure what the cloud is. But he knows what he wants it to do for his fans.
“I’m waiting for a day when my fans can listen to my music in real time as I’m making it,” the Black Eyed Peas front man said. “Instead of just carrying around my laptop and working on music there.”
His comments came at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco today. This is the eighth year that Salesforce, one of the leaders in cloud computing and customer relationship management (CRM) software, has run the conference.
Back when the conference started, the cloud was a completely different beast. The goal was to find a cheap and efficient way to have access to high-powered computing and software, said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
“We weren’t even in touch with what the cloud would be today a few years ago,” he said. “Now, we ask ourselves, why isn’t all enterprise software like Facebook?”
It’s a lesson a lot of cloud computing companies are baking into their cloud computing and enterprise strategies. Salesforce launched Chatter, a micro-blogging service on top of its CRM software, after seeing the runaway success Twitter had. Yammer, another enterprise software, is essentially a Facebook for businesses that helps with collaboration.
It’s a new era of enterprise software that has had some pretty fantastic interest as well. The newest generation of enterprise products like Yammer, Zendesk and Huddle have seen large amounts of funding. Salesforce already has more than 60,000 customers for its Chatter service, which launched earlier this year.
The newest focus for Salesforce is hitting mobile markets as hard as possible. More Smartphones and mobile devices are being activated when compared to notebooks and desktop computers at a rate of nearly three to one. That requires a bit of a different strategy, as cloud computing on mobile devices isn’t like the “amazon.com” model that involved efficiency.
Google’s Eric Schmidt said cloud computing on mobile devices was about equivalent to making the device do magic. If mobile devices aren’t running applications or doing something that’s essentially magic, developers aren’t innovating enough, Benioff said at Dreamforce today. That even involves enterprise applications, like Salesforce’s Chatter, which is available for the iPhone and iPad and fully takes advantage of the touch screen.
And the new era of enterprise software is one that’s going to trickle all the way down the chain of command. Enterprise software isn’t just for massive, unwieldy companies that are in desperate need of streamlining their software. It’s for the smaller and medium-sized businesses. It’s for the programmers developing enterprise software and also IT professionals looking to improve efficiency. And it’s even for musicians, like Will.I.Am.
[Photo: nan palmero]