Our annual Q&A series with cloud providers is well underway. NTT America deemed Disaster Recovery as a Service to be the “killer app” for cloud services. Google and Salesforce.com partner Cloud Sherpas is planning to forge new SaaS partnerships that complement its current portfolio. And coming soon, Xerox will share its vision for the cloud channel.
You’ll see most of the questions in the Q&A are the same from provider to provider. But during our interviews, the conversations often go much deeper and there’s usually a fair amount we don’t publish — in this case to create some consistency and continuity for the series, but more so because we don’t expect many people to read an 1,800-word article.
It’s a painful process because there is often so much we’d like to squeeze in. Luckily, the blog is the perfect place to dig into some leftovers. Here are a few questions and answers that didn’t make the cut from my interview with Michael Cohn, co-founder and senior vice president of marketing at Cloud Sherpas.
These are out of context, so it’s a little confusing, but they pick up after he talked in the Q&A about Cloud Sherpas’ hopes for next year, saying:
In our Google business unit, we often use the term “going more Google.” We hear Google talking about “going Google,” and we talk about going more Google. This is really starting to resonate in our customer base. Our enterprise customers are now viewing Google beyond what they initially purchased — which was messaging and collaboration systems — and they’re viewing Google as a platform for enterprise computing.
When you say the customers are looking at Google beyond Gmail and so forth, do you mean they’re looking at Google App engine and services like that?
Michael Cohn: That’s exactly right. When we think about the cloud, we talk about it in terms of different layers of the cloud stack — Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service.
Most of our customers bought Google Apps or came to us to buy Google Apps, so they bought at the very top of that stack, and they bought it for its messaging system for Gmail. They bought it for the amazing calendar, contacts and chat, and then on the collaboration front, Google Drive and Google Hangouts and all of the productivity suite that’s in the browser. That’s why they originally bought Google and came to Cloud Sherpas. But now the advancements that are being made in the other two layers in the inside of Google’s platform really make Google much more than just a SaaS provider; it’s also a platform and infrastructure provider, and so we have customers coming back to us and saying, “What else can we do?”
We’ve got all these other applications that may still be legacy applications — a Domino environment that still may exist in the organization or SharePoint applications that are still running and so forth and so on. By bringing together everything that Google has to offer in the platform layer, we’re able to help them “go more Google.” It’s about building applications on App Engine, it’s about leveraging Google cloud storage, it’s about using the predictive API and so forth.
What do you happening on the Salesforce side of the house, with respect to this?
Cohn: Yes, so on the Salesforce side: Clearly sales cloud and service cloud are growing at a tremendous rate. Cloud Sherpas is going to be building up our capabilities in Salesforce’s core offerings of sales cloud, service cloud and Chatter, the collaboration platform inside of Salesforce.
That moment when Michael decided that he’s tired of answering my stupid questions after all.
In addition to that, Force.com is the development platform inside of the Salesforce ecosystem, and we’re seeing customer demand increase for custom applications that integrate with sales cloud, service cloud and Chatter.
As an example, it’s no shock that mobility was a very big topic in 2012, and as a result of that, Cloud Sherpas has developed a world-class mobile application development team. In fact, our developers came from the consumer space where they built iOS and Android applications that support millions of users in a consumer environment.
And so we’re bringing all of that mobile application development knowhow to the enterprise and using tools like Force.com and other mobile development capabilities. We’re able to essentially unlock data that is in
Salesforce and deliver that data to employees on mobile devices. We’re
building applications for our customers — mobile applications that integrate back into sales cloud and service cloud via iOS and Android devices.