Authors: Alok Misra and Ian Gotts
The “Smart Questions” structure will help you to make well-informed choices. Nothing is left unexamined: Misra and Gotts explore the issues from both business and technical perspectives, but focus on the one intent that matters most: commercial success on Force.com. Parker Harris Co-founder, executive vice president, salesforce.com
It‟s interesting that over the past 50 years, the software industry has not only gone through business cycles but also business model cycles. And even more interesting is that the critical issues in successful business models keep being forgotten, or assumed are being solved in the next newest iteration. What Gotts and Misra have done in their thinking here is to frame the problem well and clearly. Then by using the Q&A approach, they provide not only a great check list, but also a bite-sized chunks process to allow the reader to think about and understand the key issues at a engaged and detailed level. I‟d recommend the book to any ISV or enterprise CIO thinking about what they might or could do in the Cloud space.
Ken Horner, Principal, Deloitte
The Smart Questions approach makes the complicated simple. With its aptly labeled “Questions for Suits” and “Questions for Jeans”, this is the book that an executive needs to read before making a go/no go decision about a Cloud Computing project. Author Alok Misra, who has helped us make that decision, lives and breathes this subject. He is an excellent guide.
Michelle Nunn, CEO, Points of Light Institute
Thinking about building an app on Force.com? Well don‟t, at least not until you have read Alok and Ian‟s book. They‟ll guide you through the decisions you need to make to ensure you build a successful app, but more importantly lead you through the commercial questions you must address in order to make sure you can successfully monetize your development investment. Alok and Ian are well respected in the Force.com community and this book is a great place to start your journey with the Force.com platform.Jeremy Roche, CEO, FinancialForce.com & Chairman, CODA
This book, “Thinking of…” outlines the thinking and planning required to migrate a traditional software company to the “software as a service” model, using salesforce.com’s Force.com platform. The book presents dozens of questions an ISV must ask itself before jumping into SaaS and many case study examples of companies that have failed and succeeded at their attempts to offer software as a service. It should serve as a useful guide to any company interested in making this shift.
Penny Crosman, Executive Editor, Techweb
Cloud computing has, of course, been around for decades – the challenge has always been how you make money on the stuff. Add Marc Benioff, Force.com, and stir, and a real Cloud ecosystem started wearing long pants in 2009. In the fall, Nucleus found Force.com developers could develop apps 4.9 times on Force.com than .NET or JAVA, and few believed they were “locked in” because they would be locked in with Microsoft or IBM using another language, and likely face a much longer time to market.
But not everyone was successful in making their first million in the Cloud – largely because they hadn‟t worked out all the dumb stuff – such as their business model and development and support strategy. In Smart Questions, Alok and Ian lay out the key business and technical factors that developers enamored with (or puzzled by) Force.com should consider before they hit the sandbox. They highlight some of the inherent challenges traditional vendors face in adopting a Cloud strategy, both technical and financial. This is a good quick sanity check for new or existing companies considering a venture into the Cloud. The book highlights a lot of the business opportunities and realities facing salesforce.com partners today, and aspiring developers should take heed.
Rebecca Wetteman, Vice President, Nucleus Research
We started Salesforce.com and the Salesforce Foundation simultaneously as a new model for business. Make philanthropy a core part of the culture of the company and great things will happen. The 1-1-1 model (1 percent time; 1 percent equity;
1 percent product) has been helping nonprofits and making a difference from the very beginning. Force.com allows nonprofits to innovate in an unprecedented way. Not only have we seen them be able to become more efficient, but their innovation in areas such as social networking and campaign management is being adopted nowbybusinessestoo. NonprofitssuchasGirlsIncandPoints Of Light Institute have actually helped create commercial products such as volunteer and constituent management for nonprofits, that businesses are also interested in deploying. Who knew that ISV productswouldbecomingfromnonprofits? NavatarGrouphas been very successful in using Force.com to bring out the “entrepreneurial side” of nonprofits. Alok and Ian show us the path to bringing out the best in nonprofit innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, in this book. I strongly recommend this book to any nonprofit that seeks to save money and innovate in the Cloud.
Suzanne DiBianca, Executive Director, Salesforce.com Foundation
We all have questions about Force.com, but Alok and Ian have answers, solid answers, answers to questions that I hadn’t even thought of. Force.com can work well as a Cloud Computing platform, but only if you take into account all the issues that they cover with clarity and brevity.
David Dobrin, President, B2B Analysts
It is tempting to dismiss Cloud Computing as another product of the well-oiled technology hype machine. However, Cloud reality is catching the hype as early adopters of the technology have demonstrated compelling business benefits include higher ROI and lowered TCO. Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) and Enterprise IT groups have many burning questions around if, how, and when they should transition from their on-premise solutions to Cloud-based offerings and whether they should consider a platform like Force.com to enable that transition. In their book, authors Alok and Ian explain not just the technology considerations – and common misconceptions -involved in building Cloud Computing applications on Force.com, but more importantly emphasize the need to understand the new business model and commercial viability of Cloud offerings. I found several insights and recommendations that at first glance appear to go against conventional wisdom but turned out to be very practical and relevant to the context. For example, the authors do not recommend an Agile Development Methodology to develop a multi-tenant Force.com application. They warn ISVs that they may not have a viable product business if 30% to 40% of their revenues come from consulting services. The book contains dozens of great questions to consider for the business and technology folks organized into separate sections for easy reference. A very timely book by well-respected veterans, Alok and Ian, who have practical experience with Cloud Computing and the Force.com platform. Highly recommended.
Kamesh Pemmaraju, Director of Cloud Research, The SandHill Group