Two Approaches to the Services Cloud – IBM and SFDC

Two Approaches to the Service Cloud – IBM and SFDC

IBM and SFDC have reinvented the social services cloud. They have not only succeeded in creating the social enterprise internally and then building the external social network all within the cloud.


The two companies have taken very different approaches, SFDC has built its strategy by buying applications, creating new native functionality and have done a good job integrating them into their architecture and allowing more organizations to enter the enterprise application market. SFDC has created several different products for all range of enterprises and the service cloud is starting to become the prevalent architecture and platform for companies to follow.  By laying a cloud foundation they deliver products, services and enterprise applications via cloud and recently many of their products can be a hybrid deployment.  This is a combination of some services and applications delivered via the public cloud and some are hosted as on-premise.


Social media lifecycle courtesy of SFDC


By combining mobile strategy, twitter/Facebook/LI/social interactions, the message, SaaS and service applications, listening/monitoring, internal/external collaboration and dialog (engagement) have combined to create a service cloud. It is by combining these many components and delivering them through the cloud has created the services cloud.  Technology has made all these services and applications available to organizations either as a private model should your organization choose this option or public cloud which can both be facilitated by SFDC. SFDC has created the basis of how organization can get to the social enterprise using a service cloud.  This blueprint has translated to act as a template for organizations looking to create social media infrastructure to create their social media strategy. By selecting a combination of services and applications with the many different types of applications now available as cloud and the many different organizational needs companies have a great flexibility to create their service cloud specific to their requirements.


In effect SFDC has created the infrastructure for organizations to use components of their applications although they may not be SFDC CRM customers.  The platform has created many diverse partners and applications that use the platform to create their own applications even as diverse as an entire ERP that reside on the platform.  By utilizing the platform it has created the services cloud with many diverse options.


Now IBM has taken more of a services approach as a cloud broker and consultancy rather than an application strategy.  IBM has created a vast portfolio of applications that reside in the cloud.  By combining their expertise with those applications they use the IBM pedigree of architecture, research and thought leadership to lead their cloud services charge.  The perception of IBM being a leader in technology gives organizations a comfort zone of combing a safe zone to combine applications and services and delivering them as such.  The nature of the enterprise application portfolio IBM has amassed provides the approach that may sound comforting for organizations.  IBM has many applications that are delivered through the cloud and facilitates even other major ERP software vendors such.  In the case of Lawson where IBM is a key certified system integrator which is delivered through the IBM cloud.  IBM has taken a back seat to the big name technology but do provide implementation and consulting services to customers around system implementations.


Organizations need to evaluate their internal needs and decide which applications and services are to be delivered via the cloud.  When those decisions are made then the organizational criteria must be defined at very detailed levels for each application.  It is this level of detail that will determine the service level agreement (SLA) for each application.  When defined, administrators can then monitor performance, security, administration, content and other services that are provided via the cloud. Administrators will become vendor managers to manage the many vendors in the cloud or in the cases of IBM and SFDC where multiple applications are managed through their platform or by the vendor through additional hosted services.  There are many hybrid models that organizations can utilize by combining on-premise and SaaS solutions which adds another level of administration.


Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations. Our consulting practices encompass cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP, Supply Chain strategy, social media and technology consulting.  Eval‐Source is an industry leader in the analysis of software technology and our thought leadership has placed us in the elite of consulting/analyst firms. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and infrastructure planning of their technology systems. and Twitter @eval_source

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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