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Salesforce Heretic » SFDC Marketing Kudos and Vendor Lock-In… What it really means, really.

October 16, 2006

SFDC Marketing Kudos and Vendor Lock-In… What it really means, really.

Filed under: The Heretic, Salesforce.com, The Soapbox — heretic @ 12:08 am

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OMFG - If I read one more blog entry this week that has a link to the ‘Apex isn’t vendor lock-in’ blog post I’m gonna hurl. But first….

I gotta give some kudos to Marc (it’s with a “c” guys, not a “k”) and the Marketing Team over at SFDC. The aggregate hype and spin that was spewing forth from this years Dreamforce was nothing short of, Salesforce-esque. In one move you announced your most important announcement ever (so far), completely overshadowed the next release, and hyped a feature that won’t go into beta until 2007. But what really impresses me (and I’m actually not being sarcastic - in this sentence) is the number of press pundits, bloggers, and tech writers who have completely missed the boat and tied Apex solely to the Winter ‘07 release.

I’ll be accepting donations of antacids and valium sent to….

I spent a total of 6 hours last week talking to clients, prospective, current, and former, about Apex. Every single one wanted to know when Winter ‘07 was going to be released so they could start using Apex. Then I start seeing this “Vendor Lock-In” comment and blog entry poping up left right and center like I mistyped a domain name or something.

I don’t really know when we all became so accepting and/or jaded in what we see and how we see it but I’ll be short and direct with this:

Damn dear every product has some sort of vendor lock-in. Where can you take your integration with any software package and without having to change it in some way get it to run with another. My point is this - I can’t copy/paste Apex script and get it to run in SAP, Oracle CRM, Peoplesoft, etc. Even if SFDC used pure 100% Java, you’ll still have to screw with it. Data formats change, APIs are different.

Every vendor has some degree of lock-in, the question is can you justify the PITA factor of switching for the savings/functionality gain/loss? It’s a balance question, not a yes or no. Apex is a lock-in, just as the SFDC API is a lock-in, just as you get locked-in if you have to convert your data to put it into SFDC — you were locked-in to the old format/vendor.

If SFDC wants to claim no lock-in (not that I believe this claim is from them in the first place) submit your API / scripting language as an open standard so we can make our code portable between services. You’ll also gain the approval of a standards body and probibly get sone great improvments out of the process too.

Now that’s throwing down the gauntlet.

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2 Comments


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    This is the exact same thing they pulled last year. Let me jog your memory:

    1) Sandbox, announced as if it would be included in the release. Surprise, surprise, it costs 20% of your existing license or is included as part of the new “Unlimited” licenses. Those of us with Enterprise licenses thought we were already unlimited as that’s generally how Enterprise editions of software work.

    2) Territory Management, announced but only went into pilot with that release. You had to be accepted into an extremely limited program to use it. Will finally be released with Winter ‘07 a year later.

    3) Agent Console, same as TM, announced but only in limited pilot after release. Will finally be released with Winter ‘07 a year later.

    The only major announcement last year that actually went live with the release was the App Exchange.

    This year the only major announcement is Apex and there’s no ETA for even a pilot program, though the beta is due to start in Q1 ‘07. Whether or not that’s the same as a pilot to them I’m not sure.

    I also found that they’re planning on making major enhancements to the support portal and then charging for it separately like they’re doing with the PRM, though the pricing scheme hasn’t been finalized yet.

    That will make two SFDC modules now that aren’t even included with the “Unlimited” package. Perhaps when they come out with “Super Unlimited”…

    I really like the software but they’re nickel and diming us to death when they aren’t choking us with relentless advertising.

    Comment by
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    E.J. — October 16, 2006 @ 1:13 am


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    I couldn’t agree more. The Apex concept sounds great, but I have a list of “features” that haven’t come out since I first started using Salesforce 2+ years ago.

    These guys definitely get Kudos for their marketing, it is top notch. But I want the actual product, and I don’t need 6 months of notice about their ideas, I would prefer to see what is coming now.

    I am conflicted about APEX. My original reaction was much like yours, yet another language to learn, why couldn’t they improve what we could do with javascript, or some other already supported language.

    My second thougt has to do with being able run the code more efficiently, and have it run on their systems. So, I guess I have to pay a price for that.

    In the end, I think I will just wait the year till it actually is available to use, and make a more informed judgement then.

    Comment by
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    Peter Mitton — October 20, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

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