• Steve McWhirter – Salesforce.com | Senior Vice President, Enterprise Sales, Asia-Pacific

    Updated 29/Jun/2012

    RIS engages daily with the most senior executives within the Asia-Pacific I.T. community, and this month it's our privilege to interview Steve McWhirter -- Senior Vice President, Enterprise Sales, Asia-Pacific, for Salesforce.com, and ask him to share his views on the fast moving cloud landscape:-


    Salesforce.com is the enterprise cloud computing company that is leading the shift to the Social Enterprise™. Our trusted cloud platform and apps--including our flagship CRM solution--help employees collaborate easily and connect with customers like never before. 

    Steve McWhirter has been with salesforce.com since August 2008. He looks after the company's focus on large organisations, such as Suncorp, Bajaj, St George Bank, Perpetual, American Express and Crocs, and is charged with growing this market across the entire region.

    RIS Q1: 13 years since SFDC announced the "end of software" and with now well over 100,000 customers, is the message still resonating?


    In 1999, Marc Benioff and Parker Harris founded Salesforce.com with a bold vision for The End of Software - a revolutionary technology model where customers access business services via the cloud rather than buying and installing software.


    Today, salesforce.com continues to lead enterprise cloud computing through supporting customers transform into social enterprises -- a necessity if businesses want to move at social speed and stay relevant with their customers and people. Salesforce.com's social, mobile and open cloud technologies are key to this. Therefore now more than ever -- yes, the message remains relevant.


    RIS Q2: SFDC was really the company which defined the "cloud" concept, and Forbes ranks you currently as the world's most innovative company -- congratulations! How do you see SFDC continuing to innovate and in what areas are you focused?


    Salesforce.com continues to focus relentlessly on innovation whilst ensuring we deliver market-leading cloud solutions, and it's our customers that drive us. Our 100,000+ customers expect continuous innovation -- they need to respond at social speed and Salesforce.com's real time cloud infrastructure enables us to deliver three major releases a year, allowing our customers to leverage the latest cloud computing innovations to grow their businesses.


    Social, mobile and cloud are the key drivers in today's economy. In fact, research by McKinsey & Company found that companies that adopt social technologies can see a 50 per cent increase in customer satisfaction, 48 per cent increase in business leads, and 24 per cent increase in revenue. Our upcoming Summer '12 release is packed with over 150 new features that will enable the creation of successful social enterprises through new social, mobile and real-time enterprise applications and platform services.


    RIS Q3: SFDC has just acquired Dimdim to enhance the capabilities of Chatter, do you see Chatter being widely adopted in the "social enterprise" space, or will enterprise users prefer to use their social tools like Skype and Facebook for their professional collaboration needed?


    Salesforce Chatter is the engine of the social enterprise -- it enables companies to create employee social networks that empower employees and transform companies into social, mobile and open organizations. Chatter is the only social platform in the industry that marries secure social collaboration with structured business processes and is built on salesforce.com's private, secure and trusted platform.


    We recently unveiled real-time communication for the social enterprise with Chatter Messenger and Chatter Screensharing. Chatter Messenger represents the first secure, cloud-based communication solution for employees, allowing employees to chat instantly in one-to-one or multi-person chats. Chatter Screensharing enables employees to share anything on their screens instantly with their colleagues directly from a chat session. These brand new Chatter features deliver Skype-like real-time technologies directly in the Salesforce Chatter feed through a secure, private social network within the enterprise.


    Examples of Chatter adoption in Asian companies include clickTRUE Pte Ltd (Singapore), Helutrans (Singapore), FCm Travel Solutions (Australia), Altium (Australia), Ffreedom Financial Planners (India) add Bajaj Auto Finance (India).


    RIS Q4: Chatter and Yammer have largely ruled the social enterprise space, but now we see Google+ offering business collaboration features for Google Apps, how does SFDC position this? Do you see the battleground as being for dominance of the social enterprise, or Google's much bigger target - Microsoft Exchange?


    Every enterprise is looking to increase productivity and drive growth by enabling company-wide collaboration. However, some collaboration technologies have failed to deliver on the promise of a connected enterprise. Instead email, file management systems, messaging platforms and more have created islands of collaboration -- preventing enterprises from reaping the benefits of true collaboration.


    Salesforce Chatter eliminates islands of collaboration by enabling employees to work together on sales deals, service cases, marketing campaigns, files, dashboards and more on a single secure platform. Chatter Messenger is the world's first real-time communication solution for the social enterprise that will enable companies to have in context secure conversations on one trusted platform.


    RIS Q5: SalesForce has largely been a direct play historically, but now you're evolving your channels programme, what makes a good partner for SFDC, and what's the compelling value proposition for the partners?


    Our partners' success is key to our continued growth -- we succeed when our partners succeed. Salesforce.com has dedicated teams to enable, manage and support partners and we are committed to ensuring that our partner programs are equipped with the right tools to drive our partners' success.


    Companies can choose to be Independent Solution Vendor (ISV) partners who build, package and sell business apps on Force.com or consulting partners who work with our customers deploy the appropriate infrastructure, applications and platforms to meet their business requirements. Salesforce.com has dedicated teams to enable, manage and support partners. With Force.com, app providers and ISVs are empowered to build scalable and trusted killer apps that they can choose to distribute to any company, sell to salesforce.com customers or market them on AppExchange, the leading enterprise app marketplace.


    RIS Q6: SFDC has been engaging ISV and ASP's now for a few years, how's that going for you, and any really cool app's you've seen recently?


    We continue to drive success by working with our partners in the Asia Pacific region on our award winning Salesforce CRM and salesforce.com platform.


    This year has really seen our ISV partners step up with applications and solutions that truly help a variety of organizations to grow market share. One such ISV partner is Acromobile, who is helping retailers across Asia to connect with prospective customers and drive loyalty programs to drive increased revenue.


    This year has also seen the likes of global providers like BMC implementing more and more solutions in the Salesforce Cloud rather than on premise. Our customers are demanding that their traditional application providers offer cloud solutions with Salesforce.com to take advantage of the full benefits of cloud computing.


    RIS Q7: Revenues up, stock price up, guidance is up, so business is looking good, what are your top 3 priorities for this year?


    Social, social, and more social. As the leader in enterprise cloud computing, Salesforce is driving the shift to the Social Enterprise. Our focus is on leveraging social, mobile and open cloud technologies to help businesses transform into social enterprises and connect more deeply with customers for greater success.


    For more information, please contact Kim Clarke (Vice President, Marketing, Salesforce.com Asia Pacific) at kclarke@salesforce.com

ABOUT ç°¡é«” Chinese (HK)

RIS is pleased to conduct interviews with notable IT channels Executives in Asia Pacific, to discuss topics relevant to the evolution of the I.T. channels business. Our goal is to give high profile executives, a forum to share their thoughts on vendor issues, partner issues, growth opportunities, market moves, cool solutions, and how the market is moving and evolving. The objective is not to just talk technology, but focus on its business relevance, and how this impacts the growth and profitability of the partners -- and how vendors will adapt their partner programmes to facilitate this.