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August 31, 2011

Salesforce.com Unveils the Social Enterprise as Dreamforce 11 Opens -Game On!

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor


Salesforce.com tends to create markets, drive them and sustain a leadership role as they mature. Such is likely to be the case with today’s unveiling in San Francisco at the company’s annual gathering, Dreamforce 11, of its ecosystem of “The Social Enterprise.” 

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff sees a paradigm shift on its way and aspires to be at its forefront. His vision of how businesses revolutionize interactions with their customers is based on an approach that is social media-centric, mobility enabled and that rests firmly on employment of an open cloud platform. With the unveiling today (August 31) of the Salesforce.com Social Enterprise vision and capabilities, the company has put down table stakes in the space, and set the bar high. Everyone else is going to have to take serious notice.

As Benioff stated in opening Dreamforce:

 "Our social enterprise vision fundamentally changes how companies collaborate, share and manage information…By creating social customer profiles, employee social networks, customer social networks and product social networks, companies can delight their customers in entirely new ways."

The vision

The three cornerstones of the Social Enterprise vision and related capabilities (follow links for details below), designed to accelerate social app adoption in the enterprise, are:

1. Salesforce is Social - Chatter Now, Chatter Customer Groups, Chatter Approvals, Chatter Service and Data.com will accelerate social app adoption across the entire enterprise.

2. Salesforce is Mobile - Touch.salesforce.com taps into the power of HTML5 to optimize Salesforce apps for mobile devices including the iPad, iPhone, Android (News - Alert) and more.

3. Salesforce is Open - Heroku for Java, Chatter Connect and Database.com will provide the most open, flexible and social enterprise platform in the industry

Adapting to a changing world —implementing the puzzle pieces for success

Incorporating what customers and employees know and use

Salesforce.com notes that social media has already created a revolution. The number of social networking users has surpassed email users. Plus, nearly a quarter of all time spent online is spent on social networks like Facebook. And, people access the Internet more from mobile devices than from desktops. The bottom line is the customer world is already social media-centric and enterprises need to accommodate and adapt to the new realities or risk being left behind.

What do enterprises need to do to become social? Salesforce.com says:   

Develop Social Customer Profiles: Customers today expect that the companies they work with know what they "like" on Facebook, what they are saying on Twitter (News - Alert), who they are connected to on LinkedIn and more. The social customer profile captures all of this publicly available information, empowering every employee to delight customers by knowing who they are and delivering an entirely new level of service, only possible in today's social world.

Create Employee Social Networks: Many companies struggle to connect their employees with the best information and experts within their own company. Similar to Facebook, employee social networks deliver information directly to users, rather than making them search for it themselves. The Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Chatter, Data.com and Force.com help companies build the private employee social networks that help people at work rapidly collaborate across their company so they can engage, sell and service their customers more effectively.

Build Customer Social Networks and Product Social Networks: Customer and product social networks allow companies to build stronger relationships with their customers in an entirely new way on today's most popular social channels like Facebook and Twitter. With Salesforce Radian6, Heroku and Database.com, companies can listen to, engage with and analyze what people are saying about them and create apps where customers can interact with their brand. These apps leverage cutting edge social and mobile technology, can be location-aware, and can be accessed on any device. And companies can also bring their products into social networks so they can be part of the conversation, allowing consumers to not just "fan" a product, but become its "friend."

The components for success

The components of Salesforce.com’s means for transforming companies into social enterprises are extensive. Included below are the new social innovations across Salesforce's apps and platform and their stated pricing and availability:

Chatter Now: Chatter Now will deliver real-time collaboration by enabling users to see when their colleagues are online, instantly chat with them in context and share their screen without leaving Chatter.  Chatter presence and chat are currently scheduled to be generally available in late 2011. Both features will be included for free across every edition of Chatter -- including Chatter.com. Chatter screen sharing is currently scheduled to be generally available in 2012. Chatter screen sharing will be generally available to users for an additional charge.

Chatter Customer Groups: For the first time, Chatter users will be able to invite people outside of their organization into their Chatter network to collaborate. Chatter users can invite customers and partners to collaborate in private, secure groups, which will extend enterprise collaboration beyond the four walls of a company. Chatter Customer Groups is currently scheduled to be generally available in late 2011. Chatter Customer Groups will be included for free across every edition of Chatter -- including Chatter.com.  

Chatter Approvals: With Chatter Approvals, users will be able to take action on any approval process from directly within their Chatter feed. Sales discounts, hiring decisions, vacation requests and more can all be approved without having to leave Chatter. Approval processes will now have context, including comments and documents, to help increase productivity and help users make informed decisions. Chatter Approvals is currently scheduled to be generally available in late 2011. Chatter Approvals will be included for free across every edition of Chatter.

Chatter Service: Salesforce Service Cloud is creating the ultimate self-service destination for the social enterprise with Chatter Service. With Chatter Service, customers will be able to ask their question once in a familiar social feed, and have the answer come to them in an instant -- whether it's from the knowledge base, the community of experts or a service agent. Chatter Service will also connect to public social networks, such as Facebook, extending the community far beyond the boundaries of a traditional self-service portal. Customers have gone social and the Service Cloud, with Chatter Service, is the way that companies can create a social, self-service community to delight their customers. Chatter Service is currently scheduled to be generally available in early 2012 along with pricing.

Chatter Connect: Chatter Connect makes other applications social by extending Chatter to custom and third-party applications. The Chatter REST API makes it easy for developers to integrate Chatter into other applications, such as intranets and portals, custom mobile apps and other enterprise apps. In addition, Chatter for SharePoint allows companies to make SharePoint social -- companies will be able to embed Chatter feeds in a Sharepoint MySite or TeamSite and share documents from Sharepoint to Chatter.

Data.com: Launching at Dreamforce, Data.com gives sales and marketing professionals the information they need to effectively plan, target and execute sales and marketing campaigns -- all within Salesforce. Data.com will unify socially-crowd sourced contact information from Jigsaw and company information from Dun & Bradstreet (News - Alert) (D&B) in one place to help customers build and maintain social customer profiles.

Touch.salesforce.com:  The tablet computer app, Touch.salesforce.com is currently scheduled to be generally available in early 2012.

Heroku for Java: Heroku now gives more than 6 million enterprise Java developers a clear path to build social, mobile and open cloud apps. Enterprises and developers have made significant investments in Java skills. Now, those skills and investments can be applied to creating the social enterprise by developing customer and product social networks. Java joins Ruby on Rails, Clojure and Node.js as the fourth language for the Heroku platform. For more information and technical details about Java on Heroku, visithttp://www.heroku.com/java

Database.com is GA: Database.com, the underlying cloud database already serving the company's 100,000+ customers, is now generally available to all enterprises. Database.com is a proven multi-tenant database, managing more than 36 billion transactions and 13 billion custom objects in the second quarter alone. It is open, massively scalable, automatically elastic and built from the ground up to power this new generation of social and mobile cloud applications.

Database.com Data Residency Option: The new Database.com Data Residency Option will be for companies that want to take full advantage of the cloud, but have requirements, policies or perceptions that may prevent them from gaining the strategic benefits that cloud computing has to offer. With Database.com Data Residency Option, companies will have the option of keeping readable versions of sensitive data where they want, allowing them to take full use of salesforce.com's trusted cloud computing model.

Social Enterprise License Agreement: The Social Enterprise License Agreement is available today. Pricing varies by customer.

The voice of the customer

The importance of what is being disclosed is not lost on leading edge customers.   Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry stated that, "Burberry is partnering with salesforce.com to build our social enterprise." She added that, "Our vision is that every customer will have total access to the Burberry brand and culture, regardless of where, when and how they access the company. Every CEO has to create a social enterprise today. You have to be totally connected to anyone who touches your brand. If you don't do that, I don't know what your business model is in five years."

Promise becomes reality

Much has been said in the past two years about the possibilities of social networking “creep” into enterprises. This includes concerns that it cannot and should not be allowed because of security issues and the threat of employee distraction from doing “real work.” Unified communications suppliers are also wary of social media’s potential to disintermediate their business. Up until now much of this talk has been hypothetical.  

With today’s revelation, Saleforce.com has turned theory and promise into reality. With more than 100,000 customers, as is its custom Salesforce.com is both bending the curve and increasing its steepness. For those in the enterprise market the last line of the Burberry quote is prescient. In fact, considering how fast things in this space tend to move, five years maybe a conservative estimate as to how long this revolution will take to impact most businesses. The message from Salesforce.com is clear to other ecosystem providers, GAME ON (News - Alert)!

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.


Peter Bernstein is a technology industry veteran, having worked in multiple capacities with several of the industry's biggest brands, including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Telcordia, HP, Siemens, Nortel (News - Alert), France Telecom, and others, and having served on the Advisory Boards of 15 technology startups. To read more of Peter's work, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny




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