Salesforce hooks up networking feature

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Salesforce.com has introduced a new feature which allows customers to 'network' over its hosted enterprise service..

'Salesforce to Salesforce' lets users share data from Force.com, the framework used as the platform for Salesforce's hosted business software services.

The service aims to replace tasks which had required sharing documents, such as getting data from a spreadsheet or sharing customer information.

The interface allows companies to choose which pieces of data can be accessed and which partners can transfer data to other Salesforce users.

While essentially a business application, Salesforce to Salesforce has its roots in the consumer field of social networking.

The feature was inspired by such sites as Facebook and LinkedIn which allow users to choose the profile information that can be seen by other users and friends.

As all Salesforce applications use the same code base, only data values and input information are being shared in the new service.

The company believes that this will allow customers to share data between different applications without the need to convert files or translate documents.

"Salesforce is the only company that can offer this service because we have spent eight years developing this robust platform," said Bruce Francis, vice president of strategy at Salesforce.

"We are at a point where you have all these nodes. There is critical mass, and that is where the magic happens."

Salesforce has spent the past few years transforming from a customer resource management service targeted at smaller firms to an all-encompassing business software platform hosted entirely online.

The company expects to have over a million customers by the end of December. "We are amazed that we have got here," said Francis. "It has really taken the software industry by storm."
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