It was interesting to listen to (thanks, Audible.com!) to these two books close in time. Almost the same industry, the same technical developments, completely different companies, and so similar struggles.
Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry – the book about the birth, survival, and success of the SalesForse.com and Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround – a story about historic turnaround of a giant IBM.
Rather amazing was the same premise of the companies: SalesForse.com was founded on the idea of creating a CRM based on the needs of the users, and one of the first changes Gerstner made at his arrival to IBM was concentration on the customer needs.
Both companies were also changing and adjusting their pricing strategy based on changing environment. As IBM had to lower the price of its flagship product to keep competitive, SalesForse had to change its monthly pricing structure – its signature trait – to assure financial stability.
Probably the most interesting similarity is companies’ approach to competitive environment, its positions on the market, and taking advantage of changing technology. White IMB took a position of an ultimate “integrator,” sometimes recommending competitor products as part of the best “solution” for the customer, SalesForse.com opened opportunity for other organizations to integrate and create extensions for the software. Very successful moves.
Behind the Cloud is an excellent source of ideas for any company in the SaaS market, and Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? is a treasure of examples of transformation of established structures into a more customer-centric organization.
Great books – highly recommend!