September 20, 2012
dreamforceSalesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) made several major announcements at its annual Dreamforce 2012 conference, including introducing a new partner portal to better connect and enable channel partners, suppliers and distributors.
Chatter Communities for Partners is meant to be a replacement for “legacy partner portals” that the company said doesn’t provide partners with the tools they need to effectively collaborate. Chatter Communities for Partners is different, the company claims. Built on the Chatter Communities platforms, the new partner program was designed to make it easier for partners to be social — a common theme running through Dreamforce this year.
The portal will go into a limited pilot this autumn, with general availability expected for the second half of 2013. Such a long beta phase should give the company enough time to work out any kinks and tailor the partner portal to its resellers’ needs.
Keeping to the social collaboration theme of the 70,000-person event, the company also announced the next generation of the Salesforce Sales Cloud with new social and mobile features. Updates to the Salesforce Sales Cloud combined with Salesforce Chatter is meant to help partners connect with customers with new ways to improve their end results.
Additionally, the newly announced Salesforce Touch will extend its CRM mobile features. The new mobility service has been optimized for tablets and phones, including the Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Kindle, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone and iPad, and the growing number of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android devices on the market. Salesforce Touch is now available for iOS devices and is included in all editions of the offering.
“Mobile and social technologies have sparked a revolution in the way that companies connect with customers to grow their businesses,” said Linda Crawford, executive vice president and general manager of Sales Cloud, in a prepared statement.
Additional announcements made at Dreamforce include:
Salesforce launched Marketing Cloud, a suite of software meant to unify social listening, content, engagement, advertising, workflow, automation and measurement. Its purpose is to give partners more control over their social marketing.
In an attempt to bring Dropbox-like capabilities to the enterprise, the company announced Chatterbox. With so many end-users putting Dropbox to work in the enterprise, whether with permission or in violation of IT protocols, a secure and approved tool providing the same features will likely be a welcome addition to enterprises’ cloud services. Pricing has yet to be announced, though. Chatterbox will launch in the first half of 2013.
The company also introduced new cloud services for the Salesforce Platform. Social played a large role in this announcement, as well: The company has added “Facebook-like identity for the enterprise.”
“Today’s leading companies recognize that business is social,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. “With new innovations across our six product lines, companies can transform the way they sell, service, market, collaborate, work and innovate in order to connect more deeply with customers.”
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