In the spirit of giving Thanks this holiday season, my client ThingLogix has been modeling their Foundry product in the image of salesforce, and this article is an attempt to describe how much they have been helped by following the salesforce product roadmap. As we all know, salesforce fundamentally disrupted and changed the nature of cloud computing for applications and solutions, and ThingLogix has tried to learn everything they can from their genius and innovation. Below are just a few of the core tenants that ThingLogix has adopted as part of their architecture and strategic direction for their Foundry product that helps customers deliver innovative IoT and Serverless Solutions and Applications.
Build both a Solution and a Platform
- For the original SFA Solution, salesforce knew that every SFA solution needed Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities, etc., and salesforce made them available and rapidly configurable by their customers.
- For the Foundry IoT Solution, ThingLogix knew that every IoT solution needs Device Management/Hierarchies, User Accounts/Hierarchies, Threshold Alerting/Alarming, Digital Twin Management, Digital Certificate Management, Firmware Management, etc. — also, all rapidly configurable by their customers.
- For the Platform, salesforce knew that their customers would want to be able to easily configure their custom processes, data, formulas, screen layouts, and much more…while also adding custom code where necessary for complicated business logic.
- The Foundry platform also allows their customers to quickly configure new devices, new device attributes, formulas to act on device data, new screen layouts to display or allow data entry or non-device data, and much more…while allowing their customers to add custom code for their complicated business logic. They even go a step further…force.com required the APEX specific language, but Foundry allows customers to build their custom code in Node.Js, Python, Java, and C#, thanks to AWS Lambda.
Make it Scalable, Multi-tenant and Abstract Away the Complexity
- salesforce was the first massively scalable multi-tenant architecture built for the cloud while abstracting away the complexity of an underlying Oracle database architecture and the complexity of running a global, integrated SFA and CRM application.
- Foundry leverages the cloud development environment of Amazon Web Services to allow Foundry to scale to massive levels, globally, while abstracting away the complexity of the AWS underlying services like DynamoDB for NoSQL database scalability, Kinesis for Queuing, Lamba for Serverless, Cognito/IAM for Authentication/Role Security, RDS for Search/Query, and much more. This allows ThingLogix customers to build complex, innovative IoT and Serverless solutions in days/weeks versus months/years with traditional models.
Disrupt the market by making it easy for small companies to adopt, and then scale to enterprise level
- salesforce initially sold to small companies, as we read in Marc Beniof’s book Behind The Cloud, but then quickly scaled to serve large enterprises…directly following the disruptor model.
- Foundry also allowed ThingLogix early entry to startups and smaller customers like Xenon, SolarNow, O2 Concepts and many more. Their low event-based pricing allowed people to start with low-cost Proof of Concepts and scale right to Production. Now ThingLogix sell to global companies like Toshiba, Newell Brands, ALEC, Saudi Aramco, and many more.
Quickly adopt new Technologies and Embrace the Changing Trends
- salesforce quickly expanded into CRM, then Social, then AI, then eCommerce, then Integration, and much more. They, more than any other solution and platform player, quickly assess, adopt and optimize new technologies and trends in to their solution and platform…for the benefit of their customers.
- Similarly, the Foundry product roadmap strategy is to rapidly integrate key Technologies within 1-2 months of their release, and they have done so with such things as:
- Image/Facial Recognition – for devices that have cameras, you can treat images or video feeds just like any other device data, with rapid configuration, integration with AWS Rekognition, and ability to act on the data with workflow, routing, rules, and formulas.
- AI/Machine Learning – Foundry customers can quickly select the attributes/data they are collecting from any of their IoT connected devices and create new machine learning algorithms with just clicks, not coding. Even better, they can then immediately use these machine learning algorithms in their event based processing, workflows, alerting/alarming, and integration with other enterprise systems.
- Alexa/Google Home – with Foundry you can voice enable your devices rapidly and easily, while also building complex “conversational” workflows and rules to control your devices…something extremely difficult with native Alexa/Google Home features.
- AR/VR – Foundry allows customers to build truly intelligent AR/VR solutions because it treats the AR/VR avatars and interaction points as device/asset end-points so you can capture their IoT data, transform it, build conversational workflow/rules, and ultimately deliver a robust, interactive, AR/VR solution.
- Edge Processing – when AWS released Green Grass to support edge-processing at the device level, ThingLogix was one of the first partners to showcase actual POC solutions utilizing the power of edge combined with the power of the Foundry cloud.
Make Security of Customer Data a Priority from Day One
- salesforce has always delivered high levels of security for their customers, their data, and their enterprises, as evidenced by the adoption of modern security architectures, principles and processes, allowing salesforce to manage the personal/private and sensitive data for enterprises globally.
- Foundry also places a priority on security, supporting advanced security features like Cognito/IAM role based security, API integration security/authentication, 2 factor authentication, device digital certificates, end-to-end encryption, and much more…all while also allowing Foundry customers to leverage AWS security services such as CloudTrail for event/audit logging, AWS Billing Alarms, and AWS GuardDuty for app vulnerability and threat-detection.
Support Cloud to Cloud, Enterprise and On-Premise Integration
- The salesforce architecture was always built with integration in mind, with exposed REST-based API’s, Data Loading capabilities, and much more…all allowing integration with on-premise and other cloud platforms at a level not seen before in the marketplace.
- Foundry also exposes all the Foundry underlying services as REST-based API’s, while leveraging data loading and other services inherent in AWS to support custom integration with on-premise or even disconnected devices; more importantly Foundry gives their customers out-of-the-box integration with top enterprise cloud players like salesforce.com, NetSuite, ServiceMax, DropBox, and many more.
And, of course, the #1 salesforce Tenant…Be a Customer First Organization
- salesforce is known as the Customer First organization when it comes to cloud solutions; always asking and listening to their customers to ensure their solutions meet the customer’s known and unknown needs.
- Foundry was built by listening and evaluating what ThingLogix customers wanted to do with IoT and Serverless computing, such that early customers such as Yankee Candle, TTI FloorCare, Schumacher Electric, and Clean Air drove most of their initial product enhancement roadmap. ThingLogix continues today to add features and adjust their product roadmap based on a combination of customer feedback, AWS new innovation integration, and expertise of their internal IoT experts who have delivered more enterprise class IoT solutions than almost anyone globally.
I apologize for the length of this blog, but there is so much to give thanks for regarding how salesforce has changed the enterprise software industry, and, hence, set the standards for how other vendors should perform. Hopefully many more companies are similarly emulating salesforce, because that will be good for customers, investors and their employees.
Eric Dirst, President DeKonsultere