March 13 by Kamal Ahluwalia

It’s time to demystify cloud platforms and get to the essence of those that are delivering value quickly.  I’m seeing a customer-led revolution, with apps that deliver consumer-like user experiences, parallel to the user experience social networks provide. Real cloud platforms are able to give enterprises the agility and flexibility they need in defining, fine-tuning and perfecting the user experience, and are emerging as one of the strongest catalysts  in making IT a contributor to revenue growth.

These points and more became very clear during two conferences recently attended. At the first, the CIO of Bank of America explained that in the future, IT will be all about customer experience. He said, the new generation of users won’t put up with a poor user experience.

The second was a recent presentation and discussion by Parker Harris, co-founder of Salesforce, where he shared that they are focused on providing a seamless and context aware experience from phone to tablets to desktop. He had made it the top priority for all development teams last year – and the transformation was evident at Dreamforce in November, when Salesforce1 was released to all Salesforce users.

It’s Time To Get Real About The User Experience

Any cloud platform can claim to deliver advanced tools for enabling a great user experience.  Only Salesforce1 has actually done it, and has the usability statistics across thousands of large-scale enterprises to prove it.  The real value from a cloud platform comes from being able to get departments, divisions and entire companies up and running fast, using applications to accomplish more.

Bringing the consumer experience to enterprise users is just the start.  Additional key take-aways from the conferences attended include:

  • The Salesforce1 “mobile first” design paradigm is built on the world’s leading mobile application development platform that includes support for touch-enabled mobile applications, visual design tools, and built-in integration with salesforce applications.
  • A recent Gartner Group report Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Application Platform as a Service published January 7, 2014 by Yefim V. Natis, Massimo Pezzini, Mark Driver, David Mitchell Smith, Kimihiko Iijima and Ross Altman illustrates how the Salesforce platform leads all other enterprise Platform as a Service providers (see image below). You can see a free reprint of Gartner’s report here.
User Experience helps the Salesforce platform leads all other enterprise Platform as a Service providers

Source: Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Application Platform as a Service has a commanding lead amongst PAAS providers. SAP and IBM – despite major investments – organic and inorganic – are  far behind and still viewed as “visionaries”. Oracle is not even on the quadrant. Perhaps it isn’t really a surprise.

In the mid-nineties, when the internet revolution took off, all the smart and restless engineers started to head to “internet companies” – Netscape, Yahoo, AOL, etc. Late nineties, you could see the “born in the internet” companies start to change the world with their innovation in applications and business models – Amazon, eBay, Google, Today we are experiencing the same progression. The second-generation of “born in the cloud” companies –, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are driving innovation. Not all of it – but it sure seems  like that.

Have any thoughts or real-word experience about where cloud platforms are headed? Feel free to share. Also, for a wider look at the customer-led revolution, check out this white paper.

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