Salesforce reveals enterprise collaboration with Chatter

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Salesforce reveals enterprise collaboration with Chatter

SaaS pioneers release social media tool for business.

Salesforce has unveiled Chatter, a business collaboration platform that does not only connect people with people but content and applications to people as well.

The new product is Salesforces’ first enterprise-wide application, allowing all employees in different job functions to access the social tools.

“Why do I know more about strangers on Facebook than my own employees?” asked chief executive Mark Benioff during his keynote address to Dreamforce Global Gathering 2009.

“Now, through Saleforce Chatter, my business is tweeting me. My employees can use the models they love to get the collaboration they need,” he said.

The announcement was made on Wednesday by Benioff at the company’s annual user and developer conference Dreamforce, taking place in San Francisco.

Benioff said Dreamforce had more than 19,000 registrants.

Salesforce told conference attendees that Chatter would provide enterprise collaboration with the same kind of social networking models made popular by the consumer web but in a more secure environment.

Users will be able to create Profiles where they can upload contact information, area of expertise, work history and a photo. Integration with Facebook will allow employees to auto populate their Chatter profiles with Facebook information.

Salesforce claimed Profiles will be important to business users because it will allow them to quickly identify and connect with colleagues who have the information and expertise they need.

Also Status Updates will allow employees to keep everyone informed of what they are working on while a Groups Feature will allow employees to continue working with their teams as they too offline.

A Feed will stream releavant, real-time status updates.

Saleforce Chatter will make content social by enabling documents, spreadsheets and presentations to alert the entire company when any updates have been made through the Feed, just as people are alerted when new photos are pos ted on social networks.

Applications will become social because relevant updates from the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Custom Cloud, like a new lead or an alert that inventory is low, will also be represented on Chatter’s feed.

Unlike external social networks, companies will be able to control which employees have access to what information with what Salesforce is calling a “Social Sharing Model”.

Finally Chatter will be integrated with Twitter to give users business intelligence functionality. Users will be able to filter the most relevant Twitter feeds into their Chatter application, for example a user can set-up a Twitter search for a competitor and automatically stream the real-time results into Chatter, said Salesforce.

Salesforce said it would enable developers to make any custom or third party application social in order to to fit with the Chatter platform.

At recent Dreamforce events, Salesforce has unveiled other major announcements, including AppExchange (2005), Apex (2006), Visualforce (2007) and Sites (2008). However Benioff claimed Chatter is “our biggest and most exciting announcement ever,” he said.

Benioff said Chatter will be available early next year. The application will be included in all paid editions of Salesforce CRM and Force.com.

A new Chatter Edition will also be sold for US$50 per user per month and will include Salesforce Chatter, Content and Force.com.

As will all other Saleforce applications, Chatter will be available on Mobile devices.

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