Salesforce.com announced this morning that it has hired its first chief scientist: former BT chief scientist JP Rangaswami. Rangaswami will be focused on evangalizing Salesforce.com's solutions to European customers and will also contribute to the company's overall product strategy. Rangaswami brings several years of experience as an enterprise CIO as well as thought leadership in social media, collaboration, open source, and the cloud to Salesforce.com. "It's unusual for someone to bring both serious enterprise experience and cutting edge thought leadership on the social web to the table," says Michael Krigsman about Rangaswami's unique background.
"The enterprise computing business is about to see a monumental business shift that is redrawing competitive lines and in many ways initiating the coming of a new land grab, whole hog," says Sameer Patel of the Sovos Group. Patel cites the examples of Oracle selling bundled hardware and software, Cisco selling collaboration and social media services, and HP bringing on former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker. "These are a few public examples and I know of a few more seismic ones that are not announced yet," Patel says.
Amidst all of this, Salesforce.com is trying to step up and prove that it's more than a "one trick pony" for CRM, says R "Ray" Wang of Constellation Research. "JP will be the public face of the public cloud," Wang says. He'll also be keeping CEO Marc Benioff informed of cutting edge technology.
Patel says "From what I understand after speaking with him, he will be empowered to think independently and think big."
"This gives JP the opportunity to help shape a very interesting and growing pure cloud company," says Krigsman. "He gets to bring together both sides of his background and will play an influential role."
The move sends a clear message that Salesforce.com is serious about being an enterprise platform vendor on the level of companies like Oracle and SAP. Next year is shaping up to be a very interesting year in cloud computing.