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Marc Benioff, co-founder and chief executive of Salesforce.com, told attendees at today’s Structure 09 conference in San Francisco that the world of business software and infrastructure is starting to see the same craze for real-time results that’s taking over web search. And he extolled the virtues of the pioneer of the real-time web — microblogging service Twitter.
Customers of Salesforce’s sales and and customer service web applications, as well as its Force.com platform for business applications, expect everything to happen right away, Benioff said — if they update their data, they expect those changes to appear immediately, not an hour or two in the future.
“Any concept of batch or delay in development or execution, I think, will not be tolerated by customers anymore,” Benioff said. “Even in development, customers are demanding now that they want to be able to build in that sandbox and deploy immediately, instantly, no delay.”
Many companies haven’t realized this is where things are headed, he said. Benioff recounted attending meetings with chief information officers who all refused to believe that Twitter represents anything significant; they don’t have accounts themselves because “it’s not their generation.” Benioff’s response? He types the name of their company into Twitter search and shows that they’re missing out on a huge part of the conversation. (Benioff isn’t an impartial observer here, since Salesforce’s Service Cloud product is all about connecting companies to their customers on services like Twitter.)
“I think corporations have to step it up in terms of integrating with these real-time systems,” he said.
That’s the same lesson that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has learned recently as Twitter is used to organize anti-government protesters, Benioff added: “He’s probably on Twitter right now.”
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