Salesforce.com sees India as one of the potential market for cloud computing. "Cloud computing is the next stage of SaaS. As we have had an experience of more than 10 years in this foray, cloud computing was the obvious next step. When we were holding our press conference about the same in San Francisco, a lot of Indian companies were very excited and willing to employ this technology", said Doug Farber Vice President Operations, Asia Pacific Salesforce.com.
Bandwidth is a problem in India and everyone is aware of that. So, how will a technology like such which is dependent on bandwidth survive in India? Farber said "Yes bandwidth is a problem in India. But we have found out ways to work around it. For example, one of the things that we have done is something called offline PDA. A person is connected through his iphone or laptop in which the data is stored and synchronized as and when the device gets the connection back and on. So, there are mechanisms to work around such problems."
And what about the most dreaded part of this technology? The security concerns? Farber said, "We have spent [US]$100 million on the structure of this technology to make sure that it is completely safe. We take the guarantee that the systems will be secured. Our customers like Citibank and Merilynch, will give our testimony."
So, do they plan to capitalize on these factors and differentiate themselves from their competition on the same? "Definitely, we are going to capitalize on this and make it our USP when we go to the market", said Farber.
Talking about their marketing strategy, Farber said that they are looking at certain pockets in India like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon and some parts of Mumbai. These will be the focus area for the company as far as cloud computing is concerned. "These are some pockets from where we have seen positive responses for the technology. However, we are very opportunistic in nature and open to new areas as well. Though right now, these are the places where we see the opportunity to grow", added Farber.
Farber also added that they are looking at slow focus marketing rather than a go-to-market style. They want to first create awareness about cloud computing and target specific pockets. "The best way to market this product is to let the satisfied customer on your behalf, which is what we plan to do. We will spread the news through word-of-mouth rather than going to the market with big banners", added Farber.
Talking about the reaction that it got from its channel partners when they informed them about entering the cloud computing foray in India, Farber said, "Our channel partners are extremely excited about the prospect. They see an opportunity in this technology and are ready for it. For us, channel partners are very important. They do not have to just go and sell this technology but deploy it to the clients as well. So, we are working very close with our big system providers and system integrators like Wipro and TCS on this one. We are also always open to include new partners in our company and this time is no different".
Talking about its earlier application SaaS, Farber said, "Although the technology has not picked up at a pace we expected it to, we think that it's going the way it did in Europe. When we launched it in Europe, it didn't pick up for a long time but later it was a huge success. We expect the same in India. Also it is a technology that is just 10 years old."
Farber also said that it expects large enterprises to soon adopt the technology the way SMBs did when it first came here. The company is also looking at Government as an important sector.
Talking about recession and its effects on Salesforce.com, Farber said, "When the dotcom crash happened in 2000, everyone thought we will not survive. However, we came out stronger than we were. Because we stood by our customers and provided them with solutions which were relevant and cost-effective for them. We are going through a very similar downturn again and I expect the same outcome this time as well".