This article originally appeared in the Aug. 2011 issue of Unified Communications Magazine
Salesforce.com (News - Alert) has been on the speaking circuit lately talking a lot about social networking. And in May the company announced it had completed the acquisition of Radian6, whose social media monitoring platform is used by more than half of Fortune 100 companies to monitor, analyze and engage in social media conversations. Unified Communications Magazine recently spoke with Gordon Evans, senior director of product marketing at Salesforce.com, about the deal and the CRM company’s efforts around social networking.
Salesforce.com was early in understanding the potential for social media in the enterprise and, as a result, launched Chatter. Tell us about it.
Evans: Salesforce Chatter launched in June 2010 and has since seen rapid adoption and growth. In less than a year, more than 80,000 companies, including Dell (News - Alert), Kelly Services and Nikon Instruments, have deployed Chatter. Today, Chatter is considered Salesforce.com’s most successful product release ever.
As the industry's first cloud-based enterprise social collaboration application and platform, Salesforce Chatter is enabling employees to collaborate across their company by leveraging social features popularized by consumer social networking sites like profiles, status updates and real-time feeds. These powerful tools allow for the collaboration and sharing of updates either publicly and privately. Users can follow coworkers, documents, sales leads, product development and other business data that’s relevant to them. When updates are made to any item that a user is following, an update is pushed to their feed, making it easy for an employee to know what is going on with all things that are important to their job function.
Salesforce.com recently acquired Radian6. What’s the strategy there?
Evans: Radian6’s unique technology monitors hundreds of millions of conversations every day across Facebook (News - Alert), Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and thousands of blogs and online communities, delivering actionable insight in real-time. Today, the company has more than 2,400 customers that include top global brands like AAA, Dell, GE, Kodak (News - Alert), Molson Coors, PepsiCo, and UPS. Today, our customers are asking us for a way to listen and engage in these conversations, and tightly integrate them with their salesforce.com products. With the combination of Salesforce.com and Radian6, companies will be able to bring conversations on the public social web into their business.
This isn’t the first social networking-related acquisition for Salesforce.com.
Evans: …in the past year the company acquired Heroku, adding support for Ruby, the hottest language for building social and mobile apps. Some examples of apps that developers have built on Heroku include:* ESPN (News - Alert) Sportsnation: This social community application allows ESPN viewers to vote on poll questions and discussion topics in real-time along with the broadcast of the ESPN Sportsnation program. * FlightCaster: FlightCaster analyzes millions of data points to predict flight delays up to six hours in advance. Heroku helps them focus on their advanced analysis while serving content to web and mobile clients. * Best Buy: Best Buy created the IdeaX community to stay in touch with their customers. Heroku helps Best Buy focus on development and customers, not operations. * Clobby: Clobby adds a group chat to your Facebook page. It was highlighted by Facebook as one the best ways to customize your page and is used by almost 800,000 Facebook members today. Clobby chose Heroku because the scalable cloud platform lets their team focus on enhancing their app instead of system administration.
Any final thoughts on social networking in the business environment?
Evans: In the past two years, social networking has surpassed e-mail in the number of users worldwide. People are now spending 22 percent of their Internet time on social networks, more than any other use case, according to Nielsen Wire. Salesforce.com has recognized this monumental shift and is building applications and a platform for this next generation of cloud computing. This shift moves cloud computing beyond the original low-cost, fast and easy-to-use identity of the cloud to a desktop-less world that is about status updates, feeds and profiles running on new mobile devices like the iPad 2.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi