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Salesforce CEO Benioff: Future Software Will Look Like Facebook 156

Posted by timothy
from the farmville-was-just-the-beginning dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is unapologetic about his love for Facebook. 'I think all software is going to look like Facebook,' he told media and analysts at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. 'Everyone is going to have to rewrite to have a feed-based platform.' If people can collaborate on tagging a photo, he added, they could easily do the same with a product or business problem. Even as Benioff touted his Facebook love, however, Salesforce is veering away from the Facebook model in one key way: whereas Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg felt his company focused too much on HTML5 for its mobile apps, choosing to focus instead on native-app development, Salesforce is embracing HTML5 for its Salesforce Touch app, which delivers Salesforce data such as Chatter feeds and contacts to a variety of mobile devices."
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Salesforce CEO Benioff: Future Software Will Look Like Facebook

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  • Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:15AM (#41400693)

    I look forward to a feed based version of Photoshop or any CAD program...

    • Not to mention companies like to keep things confidential and out of view from competitors. A feed makes no sense. Outlook and MS project has sharing events where team members and bosses can agree to meet and do things together corporate wise and that is all the functionality they need.

      Not News Feed for Mega Corp: "Mega Corp just made a bid to supplier Wonka to hurt Maximus Corp" and have Maximum Corp get a heads up for their sales staff etc. Not good ...

      • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Funny)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:45AM (#41401171) Journal

        Could be a great news ticker!

        "CEO diagnosed with testicular cancer" ... "Amy Jones in Accounting bakes prize winning chocolate cake" ... "Share price falls 45%, massive layoffs expected in next quarter" ... "Come dressed as a super hero next week to raise money for the homeless" ... "CFO indicted on embezzlement charges" ... "News ticker updates outsourced to India, job losses in that department expected"

        • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @03:37PM (#41404239)

          I'm not sure why the stock market reacted so harshly to Amy Jones' cake. It was really good!

          • by mjwx (966435)

            I'm not sure why the stock market reacted so harshly to Amy Jones' cake. It was really good!

            Crumbs from the cake fell into the keyboard of a HFT system which caused a panic sale of egg and flour futures.

      • by Max_W (812974)
        Outlook has to be installed on a computer, but a web-based application dose not.

        A web-based application works in Firefox, Safari, IE, Chrome, etc., on desktops, laptops, net-books, Linux boxes, etc.

        No need for an army of tech-support boots on the ground. N need to care about hardware which users use. Use whatever you want, just know your login and password.

        If one need a graphics' editor, - go ahead install what you need.
        • Nah a news feed with everything public makes soo much more business sense.

          I am sure former employees working for competitors will love to see how things are turning out?

          • by Max_W (812974)
            There are ERP (enterprise resource planning) where this issue is solved. For example, www.openerp.com
            • by Stiletto (12066)

              Rule of thumb: If the software's name or description has the word "Enterprise" in it, it's going to suck.

        • by Old97 (1341297)

          A web-based application works in Firefox, Safari, IE, Chrome, etc., on desktops, laptops, net-books, Linux boxes, etc.

          Not automatically they don't. A UI for a desktop doesn't work so well in Mobile especially over 3g cellular. There are all kinds of browser incompatibilities still. HTML5 is still not finished and support on the desktop is far behind the mobile browsers. Got plug-ins? Web-based applications have issues even when the OS is the same because the browsers may be different. This can all be overcome, but so can the issues with native clients. It's always a trade off.

        • A web-based application works in Firefox, Safari, IE, Chrome, etc

          You owe me a new keyboard.

          No rush, though. It'll be a while before I can sit at my desk to use it - I need to have my sides sewn up and my ass reattached.

      • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:28PM (#41401833) Homepage Journal

        Not to mention companies like to keep things confidential and out of view from competitors

        What I want to know is why a bunch of nerds like us would listen to anything a CEO has to say about the future of software development? That's like an astronomer telling a room full of physicists about the future of physics.

        • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chris Mattern (191822) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:42PM (#41402045)

          "That's like an astrologer telling a room full physicists about the future of physics."

          FTFY

          • by Anonymous Coward

            "That's like an astrologer telling a room full physicists about the future of physics."

            FTFY

            Gratz, this is the first correct use of "FTFY" on /. ever! We have waited 15 years for this joyous moment.

      • He's talking about a private feed, with significant access restrictions. Generally, this means feeds that are restricted to the company, or are invite-only. Not sure why everyone thinks that the feed will contain random sensitive information from other companies.

        In other words, it'll be like Facebook, except with far less privacy issues.

    • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:34AM (#41401009)
      It isn't just feeds though, it's also the awesomely awkward interface, and the total lack of data privacy. _Those_ are things I can totally see winding up in a future version of Photoshop, when they replace the 'save' button with 'save to internet', and to save to a local file you end up needing to go through three screens of sub-options (not menus, screens. Menus are so out of date, just ask Microsoft and Win8!) before you find the small print and checkbox needed to actually store the damn thing on your own computer.
    • Can't wait for my feed based spreadsheet software. Man oh man, will that make things work SOOOO much better!

    • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Informative)

      by brian_tanner (1022773) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:50AM (#41401247)
      Awesome timing. I just got this e-mail a few minutes ago: adding design "feed" to AutoCAD WS.
      http://www.autocadws.com/blog/introducing-the-design-feed/ [autocadws.com]
    • hnm feed based virtual machines managment and sql database

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      If the future truly is FB...can we all just board a flight to Mars now PLEASE? How damned sad is it that in a decade or two idiocracy is gonna be a God damned documentary about how they tried to warn us of the dumbing down of the planet.

      Yeah I can just imagine a FB styled PS program, you'll have a LOLCats button that makes the text turn into catspeak, a phone button that translates SMS into other languages, a "fuck it up" button that adds trippy effects, the "old shit" button will make it B&W...can w

    • by jythie (914043)
      It is amazing how often 'the future of all things!' really means 'the future of the niche I operate in and have trouble remembering there is a larger world'
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Bob wants your help watering his crops.

      Susan wants your help completing a memo.

      John wants your help on project buy in.

  • God I hope not. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:15AM (#41400699)

    If there's anything I need less of in my life it's "feeds".

  • Shoot me now. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:16AM (#41400719)

    I use software to create art. There is nothing more wonderful than art by committee.

  • And look at how well that has gone for us...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Besides, what is so unique about facebook? As far as I can tell, the programming and design principles they use are pretty basic and standard.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        The one unique thing they did is their backend Web stuff where individual computers, racks, or even entire datacenters could drop offline, but their stuff would stay up. They put redundancy at the top of the stack as opposed to the conventional way of having redundant, quality hardware and having the backend being fairly thin and simple.

        • The one unique thing they did is their backend Web stuff where individual computers, racks, or even entire datacenters could drop offline, but their stuff would stay up. They put redundancy at the top of the stack as opposed to the conventional way of having redundant, quality hardware and having the backend being fairly thin and simple.

          How is that any different than what, say, Amazon is doing?

  • uh huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:18AM (#41400753)

    Remember, ten years ago when the iPod was the hot thing, everything started looking like iTunes and now all software looks like iTunes. It's going to be just like that, right?

    • Remember what the Slashdot consensus was when the iPod first came out? "No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame." Slashdot as a hive mind has a surprising inability to identify trends, especially in computing. I expect the trend to continue here.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    but, as my grandfather used to say - nobody gives a rats ass what you THINK. tell us what you KNOW.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:24AM (#41400829)

    This is a person who goes to meetings instead of doing productive work. Software used by people who do actual work will not be redesigned this way.

    • by Asic Eng (193332) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:22PM (#41402567)
      Yeah, maybe we can rewrite the headline to: "Ignorant CEO of irrelevant company is wrong about future software trends".
    • This is a person who goes to meetings instead of doing productive work. Software used by people who do actual work will not be redesigned this way.

      Of course it will. The people doing productive work are far too busy to go to meetings about how to redesign the software that's used by people who do productive work.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:24AM (#41400837) Homepage Journal

    which looks anything like Facebook, will be the subject of intense litigation.

    Pretty much any future software will be.

    main () { printf("Hello world!"); } © PatentTrollsRUs

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:26AM (#41400873) Journal

    Most just spent hundreds of thousands migrating to IE 8 and these intranet apps wont run on anything else. If salesforce.com makes html 5 sites their customers simply will ignore them like they are shunning Google Docs now for not supporting IE 6 and 7.

    Maybe in 10 years after 2020 will these users leave IE 8. It does not make economic sense to do so especially after they blew all this cash just for IE 8 in 2012! ... oh and people are not getting paid to hang out in social networks. They are getting paid to get work done. Traditional apps like photoshop, autocad, quickbooks, excel, outlook, etc enable people to do such that. Uh, work!

    That is just common sense

  • He's confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:28AM (#41400907) Homepage Journal

    He's confusing Facebook The Application with Facebook the communication / social network. Facebook has never been a success because of its software. The software has essentially always worked just well enough to facilitate what people came there for, which is to communicate in a feed based manner with friends and family. I have never, ever heard anyone (besides this guy) go on about how wonderful the Facebook software is. In fact it is always the opposite.

    My grandparents are on Facebook for one reason and one reason only. They get to read messages and view pictures about family members they care about - information they otherwise could not get through any other channel. I'm sure that a very significant number of people are on FB for the exact same reason. That has nothing to do with software, but content.

    Again, the Facebook software facilities the social network, not the other way around.

    • Re:He's confused (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:43AM (#41401131)

      You're missing the point, and the history of the analogy. He started of selling Salesforce as "it's going to be like Amazon": i.e, you go to a site to do stuff, and you never worry about what's actually running behind the site. He is now starting to sell Salesforce as "it's going to be like Facebook": i.e., when you do your CRM stuff, you'll have information feeds coming from other people in your company that are related to what you're working on. It's going to be public, and you will be able to subscribe to any information stream (with some customizable limitations), instead of having to wait for IT to add you to a mailing list.

      He's not saying that all software is going to be built like Facebook. He's saying that all software is going to have built-in information streams from people you know. It's an exaggeration, yes, but it's the Dreamforce pep-rally. It's supposed to be feelgood exaggeration.

      • He started of selling Salesforce as "it's going to be like Amazon": i.e, you go to a site to do stuff, and you never worry about what's actually running behind the site. He is now starting to sell Salesforce as "it's going to be like Facebook"

        "What are we going to be like? Well, what's the hot buzzword this week?"

    • He's confusing Facebook The Application with Facebook the communication / social network.

      To quote TFA, "If people can collaborate on tagging a photo, he added, they could easily do the same with a product or business problem." He is making the "When all you have is a hammer" error in thinking. There's already software out there that does this -- many companies have 'sharepoints'. And every company I've worked for has had its executive board listen to guys like this, talking about how social networking is "the future", and they rush forward to impliment all these things.

      And so every department

      • Re:He's confused (Score:4, Insightful)

        by medcalf (68293) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:55PM (#41402229) Homepage
        I think your central observation, that people don't work the way they play, is very insightful, but the rest is problematic. It seems to me that the reason that the feed/open sharing idea is so frequently a failure in business is not because of politics, at least not in most of the places I've worked (some of which are very political). Rather, it's because people's jobs are specialized. People need certain information to do their jobs, and everything else is just wasting time.

        Consider where I work now, which is largely a FOSS company (at least the division I'm in) and which has a very collaborative environment. I work with an infrastructure team, a database team, and a couple of project teams. None of them really cares deeply about what I do except as it relates to their own work. Thus, a feed of what I'm doing all the time would be a set of information where the messages are always useful to someone, but any given someone would only get use out of a fraction of the messages. If the infrastructure team has to filter out a hundred messages to get to the one they care about, that's a huge waste of time for them. It's like a SCRUM with too large a team, and for the same reason.

        Businesses need a way of quickly, transparently and broadly sharing information that also allows you to not see information you don't need/want. The conflict between these requirements, plus human nature (tagging could solve it, if people would/could consistently and informatively tag), is sufficient to make this kind of model unlikely in a business.

        • Businesses need a way of quickly, transparently and broadly sharing information that also allows you to not see information you don't need/want. The conflict between these requirements, plus human nature (tagging could solve it, if people would/could consistently and informatively tag), is sufficient to make this kind of model unlikely in a business.

          I'm not sure whether you're saying politics doesn't play a role in any environment (a statement I strongly disagree with), or just some environments (I can work with that). But you do make a good additional point: A lot of business process in many companies is too specialized to make collaboration/social networking practical. Whether this is for legitimate business reasons or *cough* job security is a discussion for another day, but I do think you're right.

          • by medcalf (68293)
            I'm certainly not claiming politics has no role in business, nor even the more limited claim that it has no role in uptake of collaboration systems, merely that politics is probably not the primary impediment, as you seem to have been saying originally.
        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Agree with your points.

          The other argument that I've heard is that young kids don't use email, so when they become workers they won't use email either. Well, back in the 80s I doubt young kids wrote memos to their friends, but they certainly did once they began work.

          Teenagers are really insecure, and if 15 minutes go by and they don't see a post by their friends, they start to wonder if they still have friends. At work most people just want to get their work done and don't really need to see a twitter feed

  • The FB concept might be OK for leisure use by people who use it simply for entertainment. But when you pay for a software package you do so in the expectation that the commercial product will be an investment, that will reward you or save more than it cost by letting you get stuff done quickly and reliably.

    So far as collaboration goes - forget it. I don't want to have to fork-out for a piece of software and then be dependent on other people "collaborating" in order to achieve my goals. When I pay for softw

    • Looks like most people don't understand the comment, or understand just how important collaboration is. I'm sure you understand how important it is that everyone on your team works in the same direction. That requires collaboration. What he's saying is that collaboration that is restricted just to the immediate people on your local team is not enough, and often you need more input from people only tangentially related to your project. Getting stuff done quickly and reliably requires having easy access to th

      • by rsborg (111459)

        Looks like most people don't understand the comment, or understand just how important collaboration is. I'm sure you understand how important it is that everyone on your team works in the same direction. That requires collaboration. What he's saying is that collaboration that is restricted just to the immediate people on your local team is not enough, and often you need more input from people only tangentially related to your project.

        There is a very strong counterpoint to your analysis of Benioff's argument. And that is *focus* is what gets projects/deals done on time. Increasing the circle of concern past what is absolutely necessary for a given venture necessarily creates all sorts of problems like groupthink, design by committee, and analysis paralysis... and that's just for starters. Check out the anti-pattern wiki for a list of things that over-communication can often be the root cause [1].

        SFDC is a very successful venture, sure.

        • Here's the thing: a communication tool is exactly that - a tool. It's effectiveness depends on how you use it. If you decide to crowdsource your design/review/approval process, that's your problem. If you make it easy for people to communicate with each other when there's a NEED to do so (and not just a want), that's your win. During it all, the tool just stays a tool.

          You're absolutely right that focus is the key part to getting a project done. What you left out is what focus is. Is focus spending two hours

    • I don't use any PAID software for work at all. As a matter of fact, the only PAID software I use is actually games (leisure).
      I don't see how paid software makes you save money either.

  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:32AM (#41400975)

    How unusual...a person views the world through a filter based on their personality and preferences and doesn't realize their own biases and that other people might think/work differently...

    In other news, for some incomprehensible reason, most non-technical people don't like the CLI. I don't understand why they would hamper themselves by using a lesser interface.

  • If all software is going to look like Facebook we can look forward to ever application having a confusing interface that contradicts itself on every page in its style and functionality. It will also shuffle where to find things every month, so things are never in the same place twice.

    Users will also always have to think twice before doing anything, least they accidentally sign up to some spam feed, or being whisked away to some ad and javascript infested website, or inadvertently share all their work wit

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      we can look forward to ever application having a confusing interface that contradicts itself on every page in its style and functionality. It will also shuffle where to find things every month, so things are never in the same place twice.

      So... in the Windows world, nothing will change?

  • by logicassasin (318009) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:39AM (#41401071)

    Every few years, someone pops up and says "Everything is going in X direction, this is what we'll be using/how software will look". Generally speaking they're usually dead wrong. Most famously, Andrew Tanenbaum once argued [www.dina.dk] in 1992 that "... 5 years from now everyone will be running free GNU on their 200 MIPS, 64M SPARCstation-5".

    1997 came and went, everyone was running non-free Windows 95 on their 200MHz PentiumMMX beige boxes.

    • And before that it was pneumatic tube travel under the sea, and everyone speaking Esperanto and commuting to work in their own personal helicopter.

      The future always ends up looking remarkably like the present, just with a few more cool toys, and a higher degree of complexity to our lives.
      • The Internet is a great, recent, example. Nobody predicted it, not even in Sci-Fi. The idea of a truly global, integrated, universal network was just not something people thought of. Hell even when it was first developed as ARPAnet it was just envisioned for government and research, they didn't say "We are going to connect all the computers in the world!" Their goals were much smaller, it just ended up evolving in to that.

        Incremental changes we can sometimes predict. The real revolutionary ones we almost ne

        • The Internet is a great, recent, example. Nobody predicted it, not even in Sci-Fi. The idea of a truly global, integrated, universal network was just not something people thought of. Hell even when it was first developed as ARPAnet it was just envisioned for government and research, they didn't say "We are going to connect all the computers in the world!" Their goals were much smaller, it just ended up evolving in to that.

          Incremental changes we can sometimes predict. The real revolutionary ones we almost never can.

          and refrigerators [samsung.com]... don't forget about the refrigerators...

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 20, 2012 @03:04PM (#41403879) Homepage Journal

        The future always ends up looking remarkably like the present, just with a few more cool toys, and a higher degree of complexity to our lives.

        I see you're not very old yet. have you ever been had surgery and been anesthetized by ether? That is some wicked nasty shit that is a true nightmare going under (you literally think you're dying) and when you wake up, youre sick as a dog. Now? In the sci-fi 21st century, they say "ok, you're going to sleep." You say "how long until I'm unconscious?" and they reply "we're done, you're in the recovery room." Have a cataract? Sorry, you're going to need a guide dog. Today? A CrystaLens implant gives you better than 20/25 at all distances, even if you were severely nearsighted before.

        When you left the grocery store carrying big paper bags of groceries, you have to pull the heavy door open to get out of the store; no magic doors that opened when you got close.

        Your car had no ABS, air bags, seat belts, disk brakes, cruise control, air conditioning, or fuel injection. Your small car was lucky to get 20 mpg on the highway, and the lead fumes it belched made children mentally retarded. There was no EPA so when you drove past the Monsanto plant you rolled the windows up even if it was a hundred degrees outside, because the air would burn your lungs. Want to go fishing? Fine, but I'd advise you not to eat the fish... the lakes and rivers were all horribly polluted.

        Speaking of children, many of them died or were crippled for life from polio.

        Want to eat a TV dinner? No microwaves to do it in five minutes, you had to pre-heat the oven for ten minutes and cook the TV dinner for half an hour. Popcorn? Again, you couldn't just toss a bag in the nuker and hit the popcorn button, you got out a pan and some butter, melted the butter in the bottom of the pan, pour the popcorn in, put the lid on, and stand there shaking the pan for ten minutes or so until the popcorn stopped popping.

        Cool toys? Sheesh.

        Make a phone call? Well, first you have to find a phone booth, get out of the car, look the number up unless it was one you dialed every day (with a real dial on the phone).

        Want to watch a movie? You have to go to the theater. Balance your checkbook? Do the math with a pencil, there weren't any calculators; not affordable ones, anyway.

        Drill a hole? Drills all had power cords.

        Complexity? Life was far more complex back then. Everything was harder to do.

        • Then riddle me this: Why is it we work harder, longer, have more health issues and make less money in constant dollars than our moms and dads did?

          All the things you mention are improvements on previous technology, yes, but I don't see my life getting any less complicated as each year progresses. Doing math by a pencil and paper is not hard. It also keeps neural pathways strong. Going to a theater is enjoyable. Watching a movie at home on Netflix is convenient, but not as much fun as seeing The Avengers o
          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Why is it we work harder, longer, have more health issues and make less money in constant dollars than our moms and dads did?

            Because some of us were stupid enough to vote Republican, the party of the rich and connected. The rich are doing VERY well. When I was young, a CEO made roughly 20-15 times what the lowest paid employee made, now he makes 400 times as much, thanks to the decline of the unions and government policies.

    • by Krishnoid (984597) *

      1997 came and went, everyone was running non-free Windows 95 on their 200MHz PentiumMMX beige boxes.

      Except for the people loading Linux on those same boxes?

  • should either quit smoking that stuff, or find better stuff to smoke.

  • I think all real software developers and users just got a goo laugh. This is probably the same person who thinks there is such a thing as a 'post-PC-era' coming.

  • His idea might be great when you're talking about people collaborating on a list of details. Everyone can pitch in what they have, and then everyone else comments on it.

    Not all software rewards this approach. I'd hate the idea of floating a document in progress on Facebook, and having people post suggestions without having any idea of what the whole finished product should look like.

    As as practical uses, Facebook is a lot like Slashdot (but not as cool). I come here not for the chatter, off-topic posts, tro

    • by afgam28 (48611)

      Maybe Benioff is right - a feed is a lot like a version control log. I can't imagine developing software without git or something similar. And I'd love it if word processors and spreadsheets made it easier to track version history.

      "A version of Facebook for a technical topic" would probably look like my git log - internal to my company, closed off to non-developers and full of useful information.

  • by hutsell (1228828) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:53AM (#41401291) Homepage

    If the software Marc Benioff is referring to are applications meant for business communication and collaboration -- with his knowledge, experience and success -- he has a decent probability (imho) of being right.

    However, the Internet isn't ubiquitous and doesn't have the following properties:
    1. The Network is reliable.
    2. Latency is zero.
    3. Bandwidth is infinite.
    4. The Network is secure.
    5. The Network is homogeneous

    Until it does, instead of trying to turn my computer into a dumb terminal, the applications I use not requiring bandwidth are better being used offline at my convenience on my own equipment.

  • I work for a company that has a love affair with social media and a bit of a love affair with SalesForce... kinda. I've seen their software and we've tried hard to even use some. When Chatter was brought to our company, it was well received. Once people started trying to use it, it became extremely obvious that it's a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. The only problem that it could possibly solve is "How to we get our employees to act more like they're using Facebook?" Sorry guys, we're not (a

  • Mr. Beniot 010010 opines in today's edition of the "Silicon Age" that "in the future all software will look like Blertify."

    Repeat as needed.

  • Welcome to the 20th century,
    what do you think notification e-mails have been playing as a role in Enterprise communication? It's the feed, it has been since the 1990s.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would argue that native applications are the future, as the raw processing power is accessible on local computer, while some of the data is stored to personal data servers (like using OwnCloud software or Smartphone or raspery Pi kind small computers (Plug-PC)) what is then shared to others trough links and access codes.

    The user interfaces are being to changed more to Unix style where user gives direct commands for the data to poke it around. Like instead Facebook style of opening and sending data or sear

  • I haven't believed that line since Walter Cronkite said robots would be doing all our work before the 21st century.
  • I look forward to the free version of salesforce then. Last time we looked into it they were charging over $2million/year for a contract.
  • Also, in the future all restaurants are Taco Bell. And all ice cream is Dippin' Dots.
  • he's actually right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plurgid (943247) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:27PM (#41401819)

    I'm loathe to admit that a trend-surfing PHB is right about something, but in this case, he's actually dead on the money.
    You guys are thinking about software applications like eclipse, photoshop, or excel/word, etc.
    That's probably not what he's talking about. What he's talking about is software you use to run your business.

    I build this kind of thing for a living at a truly gigantic company. "Ticket systems" they used to call it back in the 90's but these days you'll hear "workflow management", etc. I'm continually amazed at how well facebook does a kind of massive collaboration platform that literally millions of people use all day every day, that is so simple to use, that there are literally no instructions and nearly everyone in the world who wants to, can use it just fine.

    Sure they're "collaborating" by posting captioned cat pictures, arguing with their long lost high school buddies about politics, and playing dumbassed flash games with social hooks, instead of troubleshooting routers and customer equipment, but the principle is damn near IDENTICAL.

    I'm amazed by this because I've been building this stuff for like 15 years and every off the shelf product gets it wrong. Nearly all of the industry standards get it wrong. Every purpose-built in-house project gets it wrong. But these spiky hair'd startup kids got it right without even knowing what they were building.

    Kind of amazing really. Those of us in this field DO have a lot to learn from facebook.
    now I guess I've gotta turn in my "krusty old guy" card or get back to telling 'em to get off my lawn

    • He's right. The issue is not what Facebook shows. It's how the pages are put together. It takes work by a lot of servers to assemble each page. The user-facing servers send out queries to servers which check the feeds of everything being followed - friends, events, calendars, messages, applications - and create a page to display. This page is updated automatically if you keep it open. You can look at any of these items in more detail, and go back into their past if desired.

      That's what managers do - foll

      • That's what managers do - follow many changing items superficially and look at some of them in detail. A management version might have feeds for shipments which missed their ship date, incoming orders, customer complaints, personnel absences, due dates for major supplier shipments, and other items of interest. Different users would be watching different things, some info would be available only to some users, and users would set what they wanted to see. If you've ever used a Bloomberg terminal, it's a lot like that, but with worse graphics.

        Facebook has a reasonable platform for that sort of thing.

        Any decent CRM or ERP system has dashboards that are more efficient for this sort of thing - hell, even JIRA has them, and you can create your own or even share it. This sort of behavior is not new - back in 2005, I worked at a major BI company and many managers even had their own mini datamart for not only current status reports/dashboards but (with their datamarts) trending within those data feeds.

        There is no reason the "Facebook interface" is any better than what's out there in many enterprise appicatio

    • I'm continually amazed at how well facebook does a kind of massive collaboration platform that literally millions of people use all day every day, that is so simple to use, that there are literally no instructions and nearly everyone in the world who wants to, can use it just fine.

      Funny thing for me... I found Facebook difficult to figure out.

      Like any geek, I normally have no problem exploring a program or an interface and learning how to use it just by poking around and trying stuff. But with Facebook, maybe because of my social anxiety, I was paralyzed... the UI is pretty dense, and I worried about accidentally posting something I didn't mean to post, or leaking private information, or breaking some social protocol...

      I ended up actually asked one of my wife's friends how to post

  • by Above (100351) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:05PM (#41402361)

    Several of my companies "suppliers" use Salesforce.com's tools to manage their customer base, that means me. As a result I've been a user of Salesforce's "solution" for some time. The result is some really, special hate for Salesforce.

    Aside from the usual complaints that their software is super-buggy, requiring almost monthly tickets with my vendor to have someone on their side open a ticket with Salesforce to fix some relatively minor data corruption issue that should have never of happened, I can also see where he is going and how stupid everyone at salesforce.com must be to go along. In the latest iteration rolled out at one of my vendors I can "friend" people in my vendor portal, and get a news feed from my friends. Of course, my vendor won't let me see what their other customers are doing, so the grand total of my "friend" list is myself, my boss (so he can place orders if I'm hit by a bus), and my vendor sales rep. Never mind that under normal circumstances there is zero activity for my boss or my sales rep, but even though they have disabled me seeing other customers the software repeatedly asks me if I want to "find more friends", or share what I just did with them.

    I'm leaving out what my vendor actually does, as it's esoteric, and now going to use a made up example.

    Me: Please ship me 1 case of packing tape. Web site: Did you know your friends might be interested in Packing Tape, would you like to share?

    I can see some niche markets where they might have a play, but honestly for most people using their software their direction makes absolutely no sense. More importantly, spending all the time on these "social" features when the base application is buggy and slow and never works right makes absolutely no sense to me. Their various iterations have been so bad my boss has actually agreed to add a "no salesforce.com portal" to the checklist for new vendors, and it's one of the major reasons we're thinking about moving away from one of our current vendors.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Fixing stuff is boring. It is about making small improvements in your customer base.

      Adding big new world-changing features is exciting, and you get to talk at trade shows about how you're going to increase your market share from 60% to 160%.

      Agree RE social feeds in applications. If I'm at the water cooler I want to hear about my friend's nightmare manager's latest boneheaded move. If I am trying to get work done I want my friend to tell me what he needs from ME. I don't care that he just got something d

  • by tekrat (242117)

    Yeah, yeah yeah, we've heard this a million times before. I seem to recall an invention that was going to change the world that "cities were going to be built around this", and it was going to be so revolutionary that we'd forever alter the way we interact with others.

    So did paperback books, the sony walkman, etc., just because something's cool now doesn't mean it'll be cool in 10 years. I mean, do you see anyone wearing leg warmers anymore?

  • Yes, obviously an idiotic statement. But it will sell well. I can't say how many times I heard from clients variations on "Can you make my [software I have to use for work but don't want to learn] work like [software or web site I like]?"

    This includes:
    "Can you make the inventory management system work like Outlook?"

    "Can you make the system we create marketing materials in work like Amazon?"

    "Can you make our senor network reporting work like Facebook?"

    But if you're the company that actually gives into these

  • More idiotic forms of "collaboration". As if business isn't paralyzed enough already with meetings, committees, focus groups...you name it. It's a miracle that anything gets done.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:23PM (#41406795) Homepage Journal

    We at Salesforce have bet the rance on facebook. Please PLEASE buy our stuff.

  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:53PM (#41407523) Homepage

    Which version of Facebook is he talking about? Facebook has changed the way it looks so many times, even Facebook doesn't look like Facebook any more! On the other hand, Facebook has changed its look so many times, any look will be like at least one version of Facebook!

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