Dreamforce: Salesforce Social Enterprise Cloud Initiative Takes Flight
Your humble correspondent was laid up with a cold when Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff finally took the stage at Dreamforce ’11. What did I miss? A whole host of announcements around almost every aspect of Salesforce’s business, from social network Chatter to PaaS offering Heroku. But the overall theme was that the Salesforce Social Enterprise initiative is in full-swing. Here’s the scoop:
When Salesforce in general and Benioff in particular talk about the term “social enterprise,” they’re discussing the notion that delighting customers in the modern age requires using cloud tools to engage them with new social and mobile technologies. That means setting up profiles of your customers’ social networking presence, putting your own employees on a social network, and making sure products are adequately represented in the world of social media.
All of these Salesforce announcements are thematically linked when viewed through that lens. Let’s break these announcements down by category.
- Chatter Now adds real-time instant messaging to the Salesforce Chatter social platform without having to leave the page.
- Chatter Customer Groups enable users to invite people outside their organization into their social grid, enabling customers and partners to collaborate on the social level.
- Chatter Approvals enables users approve things like vacation requests, sales discounts, and hiring decisions straight from Chatter – with the relevant documents and comments attached.
- Chatter Service lets customers ask questions right from Chatter or Facebook, with answers coming straight from your knowledge base, a service agent, or the community. It’s an extension of the Salesforce Service Cloud initiative.
- Chatter Connect brings the Chatter API to custom and third-party apps, including corporate portals and intranets. It also includes Chatter for Microsoft SharePoint, which lets developers build it into SharePoint pages.
- Salesforce’s Database.com, the cloud database platform that’s already powering services for its 100,000-plus customers, has left beta and entered general availability. In the press release, Salesforce describes Database.com as “open, massively scalable, automatically elastic and built from the ground up to power this new generation of social and mobile cloud applications.”
- Database.com is also getting a data residency option (scheduled to arrive in 2012) that lets enterprises with strict regulatory compliance needs keep readable versions of their database wherever they need it.
Odds and Ends
- Heroku, Salesforce.com’s PaaS offering for cloud developers, has officially announced that Java has become the fourth supported language, after Ruby on Rails, Clojure and Node.js.
- Salesforce has launched touch.salesforce.com, an HTML5-built interface designed for — wait for it — touchscreen devices such as smartphones and tablets. As a nice side-bonus, it’s also a foundation for Force.com ISV developers to either add touch interfaces to existing apps or create new mobile-optimized ones.
- Data.com is a new Salesforce offering that provides sales and marketing pros with the customer contact information and company profiles they need to plan marketing campaigns.
- Finally, as teased earlier, Salesforce officially announced the Salesforce Social Enterprise license, which grants customers unlimited access tothe Salesforce Sales Cloud, Salesforce Service Cloud, Salesforce Chatter, Salesforce Radian6, Force.com, Heroku and Database.com for one predictable price. That price will apparently be determined on a per-organization basis.
That’s a lot to process, no doubt. Stay tuned to TalkinCloud for more details as they emerge – and we’ll be keeping special watch here at Dreamforce for more details on where Salesforce partners fit into the Social Enterprise strategy.