As a CTO of a software company I spend a fair bit of my time thinking about the technology. More specifically, about how to make the legacy technology work with current technology and how to set the foundation for the technology of tomorrow while at the same time enabling the business to grow and evolve in new and sometimes unpredictable ways. Even with a very specific focus on North America and asset based finance there are so many variations and combinations of how business models and systems fit together that it's nearly an impossible task. That's why I get really excited about companies that provide services or solutions that make a positive and real difference to the business. One such company is Salesforce.
While most people immediately think "CRM" when Salesforce is mentioned, the reality is that the Salesforce CRM is just the tip of the iceberg and that the real value lies beneath what's immediately visible. I like analogies and examples – and the best one I have for Salesforce is to think about a company that invented this great and revolutionary engine that has many different applications and then in order to demonstrate the greatness of the engine put together a car. Would you classify this company as a car company? I think not. Well, thinking about Salesforce as a CRM company is the same thing.
In order to understand the importance of the "engine" and why Salesforce is not a CRM company, it is also necessary to understand the natural evolution of a software company and the software industry as a whole. I always think of it in terms of 3 specific phases.