Writer’s block isn’t common for me. Throughout my career I’ve always enjoyed having the opportunity to write about technology, and, more importantly, the business value that technology solutions can drive. Staring at the blinking cursor in this Google Doc, however, I’m wondering where to start the blog entry that will set the tone for Green Irony right out of the gate and serve as a defacto mission statement for the organization. The blog could clearly go in many different directions, but after many round-trips around my home office pacing the room, I decided it should start at the beginning with the hows and whys.
The short version of how we got here is that we’re not your everyday technology consultants, and that’s exactly what led us here.
First, a Little History Detour…
“We can’t ever forget that the Internet now is just a staid utility. The exciting platforms are software applications that are very, very simple.” – Mark Cuban, Technology Entrepreneur
My team’s background is in enterprise software development. We are skilled in building software solutions from scratch; whether it’s a large, enterprise software product (like the ones sold by Salesforce themselves) or a custom piece of software that is tailor-made to the needs of a specific business, we are very comfortable building software from the ground up by starting with nothing and writing code to execute upon the vision. Java middleware that powers a high percentage of Fortune 500s? No problem. iOS and Android e-commerce storefronts and loyalty apps? Done it. Hardware appliances that distribute virtualized systems into a private cloud? Rolled out in 2008, before it was cool.
These deliverables all gave our team experiences of immeasurable value. We learned how to solve highly complex technology problems and then how to translate this ability into solving business problems. These skilled teams of engineers were capable of solving any and all problems, but there was still an issue: large teams of great engineers solving complex problems takes time. Large teams of great engineers are well-compensated for their problem-solving abilities. Therefore, large teams of great engineers taking the time to solve problems from scratch is costly… costly enough that only the largest of businesses could afford to make these investments and solve these problems. But these problems exist across the board, so we needed to find a new way to solve them.
The People’s Technology Platform
“We need to make it easy for our customers to build that application, because our customers can’t build like Amazon.” – Adam Bosworth, EVP, Salesforce.com
The software approach mentioned in the previous section is similar to the one taken by large software companies like Amazon, IBM, and Salesforce when they develop their product offerings. These companies invest hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D for their software products, but most (if not all!) non-software companies do not have these types of budgets and need a different approach. After all, the value of software isn’t slinging a bunch of lines of code together to create the most technologically advanced solution possible (although I’m here to tell you that that is a lot of fun!). No, the value is in solving problems that make an impact for real people.
And that brings us to the why in “Why are we doing this?” Simply put, when we evaluated Salesforce, we saw the technology platform of the future. We saw a platform that would enable us to build solutions that could impact businesses of all shapes, sizes, and goals. It was flexible enough to fit almost every business need yet simple enough to allow for incredibly rapid deployment of business value. Development tasks that would have taken several weeks to build using the solutions of our past could be done in several days. We were blown away.
Like Adam Bosworth said above: your company is not Amazon, so it shouldn’t expect to build like Amazon. Using Salesforce, that no longer means you can’t drive rapid business value using technology. Just like Amazon.
And Now, a Word About Culture…
“The business of business is not business. The business of business is improving the state of the world” – Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com
As a relative outsider to Salesforce (I’d used the CRM in my previous role, but that’s about it) who has worked with countless different enterprise software companies, their cultural approach is a breath of fresh air. Like any company, Salesforce exists to make profits and drive value, but their approach is one that I find to be highly superior to the “shareholder earnings at all cost” methodology that I’ve seen deployed by many other large software companies.
Benioff’s concept is very simple: satisfy your stakeholders. Stakeholders are anyone who has an impact on your company’s performance. Employees, customers, partners, and a business’s local community are all key stakeholders in the business, and the theory is elegant in its simplicity: by satisfying and driving value to these stakeholders, a company’s performance will also excel. The record-setting pace of Salesforce’s revenue growth is a perfect illustration of this theory in action.
Marc Benioff is concerned with addressing the needs of his stakeholders, and as a result, his shareholders are also rewarded. We are also big believers in this approach. The culture of helping the customer, the community, and the employee is one that is very appealing to our team, and it’s a huge part of our identity.
That’s a Wrap
Let’s come back to where we started: the short answer for how we got here is that we’re not your everyday technology consultants. We have experience with a large breadth of different technology solutions and we’ve worked with the best-of-the-best to create custom software solutions that drive incredible business value. And because of this experience, we know just how powerful the Salesforce platform can be.
At Green Irony, we believe that everyone can benefit from the same types of technology solutions that Fortune 500 companies have been using for years. We also believe that Salesforce’s platform levels the playing field, allowing businesses of all sizes to take advantage of these innovations.
Ready to take your business to the next level with these digital solutions? Talk to us today.