One person who has had significant success in making real time information work is Marc Benioff, co-founder and chief executive of Salesforce.com. Here’s a guy that can sure spot a need (not just a fad or a trend but a real need) and build a solution that meets the need head on. He helped bring the SaaS (software as a service) CRM and sales force automation business to the forefront of business applications and has been the industry leader ever since.
Over at DigitalBeat there was coverage of Benioff’s presentation at the Structure 09 conference in San Francisco. He said
Customers …. expect everything to happen right away— if they update their data, they expect those changes to appear immediately, not an hour or two in the future.
“Any concept of batch or delay in development or execution, I think, will not be tolerated by customers anymore,” Benioff said. “Even in development, customers are demanding now that they want to be able to build in that sandbox and deploy immediately, instantly, no delay.”
Basically, the speed of the real time Internet is now moving into the application world as well. Real time data is the beauty that sits at the center of Twitter. Will Twitter be able to capitalize on it? Who knows? There is a possibility that their free offering that is gaining so much momentum could end up hurting them on the revenue side. But how or if Twitter makes money is almost irrelevant.
What is more important is a real sea change that is occurring which shows that in business it’s real time or it’s no time. While it may not be practical or even possible to have true real time for everything most companies should be tapped into some form of real time availability of information that occurs outside their four walls. If not, they stand a real chance of being left behind. Now that this reality is hitting the inner workings of core company systems and not just the marketing areas, the adoption of Twitteresque services of the world only stands to escalate more rapidly. One thing is for certain ; Benioff is a Twitter evangelist.
Many companies haven’t realized this is where things are headed, he said. Benioff recounted attending meetings with chief information officers who all refused to believe that Twitter represents anything significant; they don’t have accounts themselves because “it’s not their generation.” Benioff’s response? He types the name of their company into Twitter search and shows that they’re missing out on a huge part of the conversation.
I am no Marc Benioff but I have used the exact same technique myself to open the eyes of business people who are in complete denial that there is activity about them on the Internet much more often than they think or want to even know. Of course, they can continue to stick their head in the sand or plug their ears screaming “I can’t hear anything!” That’s their call. The real time piece of the new world order of business is no surprise to many marketers but it may actually be under publicized at this point in time. It looks like most of the business world may need to be slapped into reality. Who better to do it than front line marketers who may have mistakenly thought that everyone is getting it. It’s obvious that they are not.
For those who decide that this is just a fad or a trend I suggest you hire an executive search firm that specializes in placing high-level executives in dying industries with old school thinking. Once they get bounced from a real world company that is in tune with what is truly happening, they can quietly be put out to pasture and wait for the end. It’ll happen sooner than they think.