Today, Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com, and Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, combined forces (pun intended) to release VMForce, the first enterprise cloud for Java developers. Specifically, the VMForce vision is an enterprise-grade Java development platform which will speed development time-to-market fivefold and reduce development costs by 50%. According to today's webcast, Java is the #1 enterprise application development language, authored by over six million developers.
There are multiple implications from today's webcast, both internally and externally, for Salesforce.com and VMWare. In fact, the list that I started to compile during the call is already at four entries. I'll save three in my blog quiver, as I want to focus on the social-enterprise transition that is occurring - and that has now been solidified by today's announcement.
Historically, application development styles were, unsurprisingly, driven by the enterprise, as the expense related to hardware and development resources could not be shouldered elsewhere. The ease-of-use introduced by social media, however, has transitioned the development horizons out of the enterprise and into the social arena. This is certainly the case in my family, where the ease-of-use of Facebook is captured immediately. At any one time, FIVE generations of family members can be found participating.
As a very basic example, briefly imagine the visual transformation Microsoft Word's toolbar has undergone: the early-generation was reminiscent of a column-row database, while today's "ribbon" toolbar is a reflection of user-interfaces similar to Facebook.
The modification of internal enterprise systems to reflect outside user experiences leads me to conclude that:
- 1) We are truly a digital consumer if we are now able to tell our enterprise how we want to interact with internal systems (rather than the systems forcing us to adapt). This is partially a reflection of a society, where it feels as if newborns are presented with an iPhone (and, seemingly, practically "tweeting" from the womb).
2) For enterprises to remain at the development horizon, not only must their customer-facing products utilize a social-networking-esque ease-of-use, but their internal systems must also offer a dramatically new experience.
The integration of VMForce into the enterprise development layer introduces a literal drag-and-drop publishing and deployment platform for Java developers. Salesforce.com and VMWare are once again revolutionizing the enterprise application development and hosting proposition. VMForce creates a Java development atmosphere that decouples development from deployment: development can now occur in real-time with community and testing input, and deployment is immediately scalable across the enterprise, without additional hardware installation.
Development is no longer defined by the platform - the platform now adapts to the style of the developers.