I still remember my first introduction to Salesforce.com, a couple of companies ago.
At the time, almost 15 years ago "CRM software" meant Siebel Systems, a complex enterprise software system with a high sticker price, and even higher implementation costs, sold mainly to large enterprises. Backed by a huge marketing budget, Siebel sold well, reaching 45% market share. But implementations were challenging, and often failed, because of the cost and complexity of making an out of the box CRM software system integrate well with legacy systems and a myriad of disparate enterprise applications and databases...not to mention an insatiable set of ever changing end user demands.
My sales team leader, Steve Ritchie, pushed for a new solution called Salesforce and we got a demo from its implementation partner BlueWolf (not the Mongolian wrestler). Their implementation specialist aka sales engineer was able to demonstrate in our first discovery session the power of Salesforce's cloud based "no software" deployment model and the ease with which users could self-configure to map their Salesforce implementation to their existing business processes. We were hooked at hello.
"Customization" was a bad, high cost word. It implied armies of IT specialists, a brittle high cost system, and long and complex change management processes. "Configuration", the Salesforce alternative, was relatively painless and powerful. Even non-programming idiots like me could easily make Salesforce work within the context of our company, without the time, cost and complexity of the traditional enterprise CRM solutions. No surprise BlueWolf built a global implementation company bought by IBM, just by focussing on implementing Salesforce.
When we introduced Organimi to the market, as the world's first purpose-built-from-the-ground up, cloud based, organizational design tool, we wanted to do the same thing: make it easy for organizations of all kinds around the world to create, customize and share their organizational charts, photoboards and directories, so that our customers could access, update and share their org charts anywhere, at any time with anyone they wanted to.
We still have a long way to go, but with tens of thousands of users and hundreds of customers, we think we are on the right track. Earlier this year, we introduced "custom fields" to Organimi making it easy for users to not only create and share their basic organizational structure information, but also to add custom fields uniquely suited to their own organizational requirements. All this without the cost and complexity of traditional implementation cycles or placing demands on scarce, highly valuable IT team resources that are often deployed elsewhere on more mission critical IT projects. Think of Organimi - now with enhanced formatting and layout options as well - as the Swiss Army Knife of org charts and organizational design - all the tools are there, at your own finger tips, to do pretty much all that you want to do.
So what has the result been, and where do we see things going? Since Organimi supports both structured and unstructured data, with text, numerical, url and other data types, and since users can choose to share or keep custom fields private, we thought it would be interesting to see where our users want to see Organimi go, and what we can do to help them achieve their goals.
We've had lots of users experimenting with custom fields, such as: