CMIQ Weekly Review: Salesforce and the Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

Gina Scanlon

After attending the Salesforce Cloud Force 2011 event in NYC, I’ve become thoroughly convinced of the power of cloud computing. Not that I don’t have my concerns.

With over 5,000 attendees and 6,000 live online viewers, the event also successfully launched ‘Service Cloud 3,’ a network/community for customers, contact centers, social media and knowledge.

One thing Alex Dayon, Salesforce’s EVP of CRM, pointed out that I found myself agreeing with is that, "customers are on social media, which means you (your business) have to be too."

Service Cloud 3 is a relatively innovative model that offers real-time insight, live analytics, and social and high volume interactions.

Marketing cloud computing is something Salesforce does extremely well, being the fourth largest growing company in the world. The idea of ‘the cloud,’ however, is far bigger than any ‘one’ company.

The idea of cloud computing originated in the early 2000’s coupled with skepticism and not much interest. It has grown considerably since then.

Instead of hardware and desktop sales, which are now virtually nonexistent, tablets, mobile PC’s and smartphones have taken over the market. And cloud computing is accessible with all of the above. This sharp shift has all happened within the last year or so.

The pros

Cloud computing is the most sustainable technology in the world. The private cloud is 64 percent more energy efficient and the on-premise cloud is 95 percent more efficient. After corporation Thomson Reuters joined the cloud, they started receiving 1/3 less email and their customer information management approval score went up by 54 percent.

The idea of location awareness has also been heightened by the cloud, allowing people to track and be tracked. This almost went into my cons category because I don’t like the security breeches it could cause. From a business and customer services standpoint, however, it’s a pro.

Bottom line: it allows for much easier, and faster communication across the board.


The cons

Security and trust issues are the obvious, but there are also other factors that don’t work in the cloud’s favor.

Your type of data may not be compatible with the cloud. If your company handles security sensitive material like medical records, for example, the cloud is a cause for concern.

The idea behind cloud computing is for interactions to be ‘instant’ and ‘live,’ but if you don’t have the right human capital for the rather ‘adventuresome’ IT model, who aren’t willing to learn and stretch their creative inclinations, cloud computing could be a frustrating task for your company to take on.

Also, as Network World points out, "the bigger you are, the bigger your IT resource pool. And the bigger your IT resource pool, the less likely it is that you'll see any enormous financial advantage in outsourcing to the cloud." If you’re a large company, creating your own cloud computing model might work better than using an outsourced innovator.

Positive or negative, cloud computing is a formidable competitor to the desktop model and most likely will continue to gain traction.