“The end of software”

Monday 2 June 2014, by Dustin Knittler, manuel ojeda, miren.iruretagoyena

1 inspired

A. The main facts about the activities of the company. is an American company based on cloud computing founded in California in 1999. This company headquartered in San Francisco went public in June 2004 in the New York stock Exchange, under the symbol CRM. is a website that provides CRM software application as a way of payment for a service through the internet. It grants the use of his applications in order to control your sales, look to different aspects of your clients and offer them a better service. You can get in it where you want through the internet, make a quick view of the situation and even update data with clients or discuss with you work colleagues.

The objective of the app is making your business grow, thanks to the cheap and complex personalized CRM applications that designs for each business. You pay for the service and you are able to see the performance of the investment immediately; and as there are not any identical companies, the app is always personalized, in order to adjust to the exclusive necessities of your company and sector. Apart from being headquartered in San Francisco, it also has regional headquarters in Switzerland, India and Tokyo. There are also different major offices in Toronto, Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Dublin, Hyderabad, California and Oregon. It has its services translated into 16 different languages and nowadays there are more than 3 million daily clients that use this app.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

One of the main arguments in favor of the company is that Corporate Social Responsibility is embedded in their day-to-day business, as it was introduced at the very beginning in order to make it a key part of the company’s strategy.

The sustainability of the company is a major issue it keenly addresses. Along with its employees, tries to work as efficiently as possible with regard to energy. They have even created a green environment where products are reused and recycled. This philosophy is transmitted to its suppliers by requiring them to be environmentally friendly. Furthermore, continuous research is being carried out to assess the impact that cloud computing can have on the environment.

In addition, has formed a foundation that is committed to improve communities all around the world and help those people that need it the most. Helping and improving communities can take many different forms like providing people with clean water or helping to provide education, and the Salesforce Foundation is making sure not to limit its activities to specific areas. The main idea behind the foundation is that if all big companies would allocate only small amounts of their time and profits to help people in need, the impact would be immense and could solve many problems including the extreme poverty in some parts of the world.

Salesforce has developed the so called 1:1:1 Model which means that 1% of its capital is used to provide grants to innovative technologies and volunteering projects in neighboring communities that the company finds motivating; employees spend 1% of their time engaging in any volunteering activities that they may choose; and finally, 1% of the company’s products are sold at a discount to non-governmental organizations and higher education institutions.

Furthermore, in order to have the greatest impact possible, the Salesforce Foundation not only allocates some of their resources to good causes, but also builds up on its strength in the cloud computing sector in order to assist nonprofit organizations with their projects. The “Power of Us program” for example, is an initiative of Salesforce to provide NGOs with its products at a deeply discounted rate. The idea behind this program is that in order to make the world a better place, cooperation and coordination between organizations is needed. The products that they provide can help NGOs by creating very effective communication tools, building a base to raise more funds and to deliver better programs and services. As a result the nonprofit organizations can focus on their core activities in a more efficient way.

All in all, the company has granted more than $65 million, 620,000 hours and 22,000 products to help support its cause.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

First of all, and what seems to be the key issue to understand their involvement is that since the very beginning Salesforce have taken a respectable position with regard to ethics and their way of doing business. They have not faced any pressure from outside the company to taken on sustainable practices and that is what makes it credible.

In addition, the fact that they contribute to their clients’ businesses and provide additional value to their community without asking for nothing more than their continuous development, helps to maintain the respectability of the company and their credible commitment.

A further argument in favor of is that they have built a cooperative environment inside the company, where its employees are ready to get involved in volunteering jobs. This aspect reinforces itself as it is in the employees’ hands to choose where to employ their resources and capabilities, hence their intrinsic motivation is enough to see their compromise.

Finally, the company’s responsible response to environmental issues and its active participation in helping develop its communities have been reflected in the many awards it has received. It has been awarded with the “Ethisphere World’s Most Ethical Companies” in 2013 and in two other times. It has also been considered the “Top Corporate Philanthropists in the Greater Bay Area” by the San Francisco Business Times both in 2007 and 2013. And in 2012, Marc Benioff, its Chairman and CEO, was mentioned in Forbes’ “Titans of philanthropy”.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

As cloud computing still is a fairly young technology which is still growing in demand, especially in European and Asian countries, projections for the near future look good for established companies like Salesforce. As business is doing well, so is the Salesforce foundation, but their real commitment will be tested in less successful times of recession. If the company wants to stay credible in their efforts of improving communities all around the world, they need to be committed even in times of shrinking profits. Harder economic times are a challenge that every company will face sooner or later, and it will test how serious Salesforce really is about their commitment.

In addition to the challenges the company might face in the future, there are also some aspects of their day to day business that Salesforce could improve upon. Firstly it would be a big step to not only choose suppliers, but also customers according to ethical values. Salesforce requires its suppliers to be environmentally friendly and behave in an ethically acceptable way, and doing the same for its customers would help to further promote their ideas of ethical business.

Finally, the company could improve by further promoting the use of more renewable energies to supply them with energy. As a cloud computing company, Salesforce uses large amounts of energy to run their services and it would fit in their concept to reduce the impact of this energy consumption as much as possible. By opting for more renewable energy sources, in addition to their requirements of environmental friendliness, Salesforce could set the tone for its suppliers and help the growth of those renewable energy sources, which are still only a small part of todays energy mix.

Salesforce tries its best to not only behave ethically, but to actually make a difference in today’s globalized business world as well. By improving on the previously mentioned aspects, they could have an even bigger influence on their suppliers and customers, making them even more credible in their efforts of having a real impact on communities all around the world.


Location: San Francisco, CA, 94105 (United States)

Sector: Information and communication, Other service activities

Official website:

Key figures:

- 1bn in revenue
- more than 13,000 employees
- listed on the NYSE (CRM)

Nbr. visits: 694

Nbr. inspires: 1