Dreamforce 2012: Salesforce.com Hails Social Revolution With Cloud Updates

Mark Benioff Salesforce.com Dreamforce 2012

Chatter social service spreads as iPad app goes on general availability

Salesforce.com has kicked off its Dreamforce 2012 conference in San Francisco this week by adding a number of features to its biggest products, claiming they will help businesses take part in the “social revolution”.

The company started pushing out its social message at Dreamforce 2011 and has continued to follow that strategy despite some setbacks. It was recently forced to ditch an attempt to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’, and remove all traces of it from marketing.

Today, both the Sales Cloud and Service Cloud have been updated with some social additions. Chatter, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) giant’s social collaboration product launched in 2010, has been given a new lease of life in the Sales Cloud, with a Chatter Communities for Partners function. It gives customers a single place online where they can collaborate with channel partners and “sell better as a team”, according to Salesforce.com.

Fresh features

Chatter Communities for Service, meanwhile, has been brought into the Service Cloud, designed to combine community site and self-service portals into one place. “The two never really blend,” said Fergus Griffin, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce.com.

Salesforce.com’s Data.com service, launched last year, has been handed a Social Key, which is the “missing link” for identifying who people are on social sites. It effectively gives users a single place to look over data related to customers or potential clients, bringing in information from various platforms. “This is critical,” Griffin said.

Meanwhile, the Salesforce Touch app for iPad for its Sales Cloud has been made generally available, as the vendor looks to cater for the boom in tablet sales. It cited figures suggesting 96 million businesses will have tablets by 2016.

Salesforce.com said that because the app used HTML 5, it would be appearing on other platforms soon, including the Amazon Kindle and the iPhone. But there was no confirmation of when the app would appear on other operating systems.

“We see the social revolution is pervasive in our regular lives, and it is now bleeding into business,” Griffin added.

“For us, the social revolution for companies is how can they figure out ways to connect better with their customers.”

How well do you know the cloud? Take our quiz!