Customer Data in Cyberspace: What was the tipping point?

Somebody at one of the LinkedIn groups I am a member of posed an interesting question. His question was (and I paraphrase a bit here: “what was the tipping point for customers to start entrusting online services like Salesforce.com with sensitive customer information?”

The entire post I reprint below:

LinkedIn: Discussion: CRM Experts

Salesforce.com , an asp log-in CRM system that involves no downloading of software, now has 55,400 enterprise customers world-wide and has even spawned imitations (eg., SugarCRM.com ).

I must confess to initially running with the herd – the cynics. It was easily done. The conventional wisdom was that large, medium and small organisations would not accept the risks (real and perceived) of hosting their customer data (arguably their most valuable asset after their people) outside of the enterprise – no matter how secure the site. What a PR disaster it would be if their customer data records were ever compromised.

As this orthodoxy has been shattered, pundits are left reflecting on what exactly was the tipping point? Was it improved internet security, broadband availability, increased trust in online systems or a rise in teleworking?

Or did the company simply build a damn good product that was better than traditional CRM systems managed and maintained by the IT department, especially those for SMEs, with much higher price tags?

Did the rise of sensitive data held by online retail, gambling, networking (like LinkedIn) and dating sites also lower tolerance thresholds?

And if such an entrenched orthodoxy can smash like a glass beaker on a marble floor….what’s next?

My take? The tipping point I think happened long before Salesforce.com came. It happened when people began using web-based email systems to store sensitive (business and private) information. It began when people started using websites like eBay and Amazon, or B2B exchanges and marketplaces to transact and share credit card information online.

Using web-based (oops the term is now cloud-based) services was I think just a small step from what people were already doing anyway.

What’s next? Perhaps the idea of having all of our services and data residing in the “cloud” and the death of personal or enterprise computing as we know it today may not be far off. Perhaps a “utility” based computing model makes sense after all.

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One Response to Customer Data in Cyberspace: What was the tipping point?

  1. Pingback: Customer Data in Cyberspace: What was the tipping point? | Irina Online - Dating Service Information

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