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Summary:

The UK-sited data center, which should help settle the compliance worries of many of Salesforce’s European customers, will be completed in 2014. The firm is also running a €5 million Innovation Challenge for EU startups.

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Salesforce.com will set up its first European data center in the UK next year, the enterprise software-as-a-service firm said on Thursday.

The company has come under criticism for not having a European data center in the past, largely due to compliance issues – Salesforce is part of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor framework, which means it’s allowed to handle European citizens’ personal data, but many customers would prefer the certainty that a locally sited data center allows. (We will be discussing such issues at our Structure:Europe conference in London on 18-19 September, by the way.)

Salesforce said last year that it hoped to open a data center in the UK in 2013, but this appears to have been pushed back a little now. According to a statement today, the new data center – the firm’s sixth — will be completed in 2014 in partnership with NTT Communications’ local arm, NTT Europe.

In a statement, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said Europe had provided the greatest revenue growth – 38 percent — for the company in the 2013 fiscal year:

“We are doubling down on Europe with the announcement of our new data centre in the UK, which will support continued customer success in EMEA.”

Robin Balen, NTT Europe’s wholesale data center business chief, added that the new facility would be “powered 100 percent by renewable energy sources.”

Innovation Challenge

Meanwhile, Salesforce has also teamed up with a group of European venture capital firms – Notion capital, Octopus Investment and MMC Ventures – to launch a €5 million ($6.6 million) Innovation Challenge for startups.

Startups are invited to pitch their enterprise cloud apps that could run (surprise!) on Salesforce’s platform. There will be pitching events through Europe between September and November, and the winners will get seed funding. Apps will need to be at least in the beta stage, with demonstrable “traction, customer success and user adoption.”

“This is a unique opportunity for innovative start-ups in the enterprise app market here in Europe to receive commercial support to allow them to compete on a global stage,” Octopus principal Luke Hakes said in a statement.

  1. Ian Moyse ☁☁ Friday, May 10, 2013

    Customer feel more comfortable having their data held in the UK and under UK jurisdiction, however many still raise questions around USA firms being the parent to the hosting and how this may affect data sovereignty. Microsoft’s UK MD famously and publicly stated in 2012 that ‘the software giant could not guarantee that European citizen data stored in EU-based data centers would not leave the European Union under any circumstances, including under a Patriot Act request’ raising concern among many and promoting use of where possible a UK provider with UK data stores.

    Also to be noted is that another interview wielded that Steve Garnett, Salesforce’s EMEA chairman said that the company would not be offering a service to relocate UK customers that are currently hosted in North America, and that he believes the location of data isn’t a concern for the majority of customers. So ‘new customers only!l.

    Ian Moyse
    Workbooks.com

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