You’ve probably heard about the Internet of Things. But what about the Internet of Customers? Salesforce apparently has: It plans to open three new data centers in Europe later this year to support — you guessed it — the Internet of Customers.
Capitalizing on Customers
While the name may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, the intentions are not. With the new data centers, Salesforce is muscling up its data storage capabilities with a long-term eye on the development of the Internet of Things (IoT).
According to Salesforce, if the IoT connects millions of devices and ultimately produce a massive amount of data, behind all these devices is a potential customer. Behind the companies that are looking to do business with those customers will be Salesforce, or at least that is the plan, according to a company statement:
By 2020, there will be more than 50 billion connected things, from smart phones and wearable smart devices to jet engines and cars. And behind every product, every app and every device there is a customer.”
Salesforce made an interesting choice of locations for the data centers — Germany, France and Britain .
Germany has weathered the economic crisis better than any other country in Europe, if not the world. Britain’s recent economic figures show it is well on the road to recovery. France, while trailing the other two economically, has a government that is actively encouraging investment in technology to promote growth.
Generally speaking, the 17-nation eurozone came out of recession at the beginning of last year. Growth is expected to speed during the coming year, creating investment opportunities for tech companies that want to expand their presence in Europe.
Salesforce is already reaping the benefit of this and reported revenue growth of 41 percent across Europe in the quarterly figures it released last week. It's three new data centers will create 500 jobs across Europe during its fiscal year 2015.
Jillian Mirandi, Senior Cloud Analyst with Technology Business Research (TBR) estimates that continued portfolio expansion will drive 25 percent to 30 percent growth for Salesforce.
In recent years, Salesforce has not only been evolving its messaging, but it has also invested billions in expanding its portfolio beyond CRM, with marketing automation as the most recent focus. We estimate Marketing Cloud generates 12 percent of the company’s revenue, and that its revenue contribution will increase over CY2014 as Marketing Cloud is sold both independently and into Salesforce.com’s customer base."
She added that she sees the next step in Saleforce's evolution will be expansion into the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market and that in the future will align with cloud-born ERP vendor FinancialForce.com.
Looking to the Future
To enable all this, at least in Europe, Salesforce needs more data centers. If that’s the short-term view, then the long-term perspective is much more ambitious. Salesforce is estimating 50 billion connected devices by 2020, a figure that has been backed-up by independent researchers like Gartner and IDC.
In a world of connected apps, Salesforce sees customer relationship management (CRM) as one where relationships with customers are increasingly complex because of the number of devices in the equation.
Salesforce1 is a CRM platform for developers, end users and administrators which is designed to help enterprises move to the new social, mobile and connected cloud. Introduced in November, it is a core part of this plan and will become increasingly important as Salesforce’s Internet of Customers gains ground.
Title image by Robert Hoetink (Shutterstock).