Salesforce.com announces enterprise app innovation challenge

Cloud giant Salesforce.com has announced the €5 million Innovation Challenge, offering a chance for innovative start-ups to build successful enterprise apps on the Salesforce platform.

The challenge, which launches today, will allow prospective companies to pitch their ideas to venture capitalists at a series of events throughout Europe between September and November.

The winners, based around different categories, will each receive a slice of the €5m (£4.23m) prize and will be able to build and market their app on the Salesforce AppExchange apps marketplace.

And according to Adam Spearing, Salesforce.com EMEA ACVP platform, the challenge is “almost like an X-Factor for developers” and is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“What we provide is the opportunity for these highly innovative companies to join on the most trusted platform in the world,” Spearing explained in a press call. “I think this is an unbelievable opportunity.

“For our customers too, it’s a chance to get the most innovative companies on the most trusted cloud.”

The growth of the AppExchange store is indicative of the growth in the enterprise app space. Back in 2009, one app was downloaded once every 150 seconds. Now, it’s once every 40.

Spearing believes the only way is up in that regard, predicting that the growth rates will continue for “five to six years”.

“I don’t see this slowing down for a significant number of years,” he said. “There’s so much still to do in this space.

“IT is starting to realise that cloud is good...IT is starting to be able to yes to things more often, instead of being shackled by legacy.”

Alongside the innovation challenge, Salesforce has also announced results of a new report on enterprise app growth by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

According to the report, the enterprise app jobs market is growing at a huge rate. Demand for enterprise app jobs has been growing 68% year-on-year as opposed to 49% for the overall app market, with over 17,000 jobs predicted to be created in the space by 2018.

“It’s accelerating massively,” Spearing noted. “The growth is just exponential.”

It will certainly be interesting to see what size and shape the winning entries will look like. The battle lines are drawn; especially given Infor CEO Charles Phillips’ comments last week that enterprise software “sucks”.

Enterprise apps is also a key development area for venture capitalists. Meteor made over £7m from VCs in order to provide a framework for enterprise app developers back in July, whilst the aptly named startup Tomfoolery earned over £1m in funding in January to help achieve its mission to “change enterprise software forever”.

How big an opportunity is this for enterprise app devs? Would it be a project you want to get involved in?

 

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