Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff says the future of computing will be like Twitter – that is, live, not batched. “Any concept of batch or delay in development or execution, I think, will not be tolerated by customers anymore,” Benioff said at Structure 09 according to the Digitalbeat report.
But this urgency isn’t just about speed. It’s about organizing work around process over product: beta-think. “Even in development, customers are demanding now that they want to be able to build in that sandbox and deploy immediately, instantly, no delay,” Benioff said. Take that principle past software to other industries – news and advertising, to name two – and to work itself as beta becomes a principle of workflow and management. And that shift will bring a cultural clash to countless workplaces just as we’ve seen in the newsroom.
Many companies haven’t realized this is where things are headed, he said. Benioff recounted attending meetings with chief information officers who all refused to believe that Twitter represents anything significant; they don’t have accounts themselves because “it’s not their generation.” Benioff’s response? He types the name of their company into Twitter search and shows that they’re missing out on a huge part of the conversation. (Benioff isn’t an impartial observer here, since Salesforce’s Service Cloud product is all about connecting companies to their customers on services like Twitter.)
“I think corporations have to step it up in terms of integrating with these real-time systems,” he said.
That’s the same lesson that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has learned recently as Twitter is used to organize anti-government protesters, Benioff added: “He’s probably on Twitter right now.”