It was the lure of getting involved in a start up again that attracted Aden Forrest to take up the position as Salesforce.com’s first New Zealand country manager.
Forrest loves the agile nature of start-ups, clearly evident in a job history which saw him go offshore to take CRM specialist E.phipany to Europe and return eight years later to head up Siebel’s first New Zealand office.
And, while Forrest says he loved his time at Siebel, Oracle’s acquisition of the company took it from a small player to a massive organisation.
“When I joined Siebel there was always the question about what the company’s future was, given that it had experienced such massive growth. Basically I’d signed to head a start up delivering on demand software but that changed with the acquisition,” he says.
Although he believes Oracle will be hugely successful in the CRM space Forrest says its on-demand software service isn’t a priority.
“It sounds a bit woolly but I’m in favour of the democratisation – not commoditisation – of software. All organisations, regardless of size, can take advantage of SaaS and that model has been validated time and time again.”
The reason SaaS works, according to Forrest, is because it removes the burden many companies face when investing in infrastructure.
“Customers want capability and they want it fast. An organisation can get on-demand deployed within a very quick timeframe and it allows the IT department to see the value in a non-threatening way.”
Forrest says Salesforce has a huge focus on the partner community and calls on developers and partners to do what they can to enhance the platform.
“SaaS is more than just providing subscription services, the real money is in adding value for customers through deployment and customisation. One of the great things about New Zealand is there’s a lot of astute people that are building solutions to meet trends and, in many respects, they’re well ahead of the rest of the world. “
Additionally Forrest says Salesforce’s Appex directory represents a powerful means for local developers to get their products to the global market.