Image: Screenhot from the corresponcing Quip entry.
With the acquisition of Quip, cloud business application giant Salesforce is becoming stronger in the battle with Microsoft on the future of customized, collaboration-enabled and analytics-augmented cloud-based mobile business apps. While Microsoft won the fight on the social collaboration analytics front with the LinkedIn take-over a couple of weeks ago, it's time for Salesforce to react, opening a front in the productivity and content area against Office 365.
Behind the scenes, it's also a battle for in-depth knowledge and visionary raising stars in the cloud area. Bret Taylor, co-author of Google Maps and inventor of Facebook's "Like" button is that kind of professional diamond Salesforce needs in its battle for the supremacy in the arena. This might be decisive to determine the winner of the battle.
One thing is acquiring machine learning, big-data analytics and cognitive competence to augment business processes with intelligence, generating business actions in the CRM, ERP, customer service applications and collaboration/ communications platforms. Both opponents have been upgrading their armoury with machine learning, analytics, intelligence, graph databases/APIs and, in case of Microsoft, even with LinkedIn as the strongest professional social network data supplier.
The other thing is keeping customers engaged and teams happy and willing to pay for the benefits of the business apps.
According to a YouGov study for Salesforce, 52% of German employees want to accomplish more tasks in apps, like sick leave notifications, time tracking/work logging or project documentations. But only 37% are satisfied with the efforts their employer is doing to make mobile work possible.
Mobile apps are expensive: they must be architected, designed, developed, tested, implemented, supported, operated, continuously secured and improved. This is why most companies use the standard one-size-fits-all apps provided by Salesforce and Microsoft. But digital transformation forces companies to differentiate to stand out, rapidly modernize their business processes and streamline their operations. This can best be done with customized, "to the minute" digital business apps, avoiding to wait and go with the crowd of competitors on the next app release.
Microsoft showed off at WPC 2016 this month how to transform all sort of big data, sensor, collaboration and content analytics into intelligence and use this as input to take business actions in CRM and ERP. Using the low-code/no-code toolset around PowerApps, PowerBI and Flow, experienced business professionals can build and improve their own apps, with some coaching and fostering from specialized partners in vertical industries.
Quip is a great acquisition for Salesforce and shows its will to compete on equal terms with Microsoft. Quip brings a very agile, next generation document and content creation platform and enhances Salesforce Chatter social network with important context-based chat. Compared to the well-established Office 365, Cortana Intelligence, Dynamics 365 and PowerApps battle force, supercharged by LinkedIn, there are still huge gaps for Salesforce to address, especially in realtime collaboration, telephony, video, conferencing and chat bots and in no-code business apps assembling.
Maybe we'll see Marc Benioff approaching Slack, Zoom.us and Mendix in the next weeks.