Salesforce.com introduces the world to the Collaboration Cloud

November 19, 2009
107 Views

200911181550.jpg Today at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference CEO Marc Benioff announced a new “mystery” product called Salesforce Chatter. Calling the category “collaboration cloud” is technically accurate but frankly understates the product, which is in reality a very strong offering in the category of social software. Chatter, which will be available early next year, is a social platform that brings together content, apps and people. In other words this offering capitalizes on the concept of “people as the platform.” Built on the Force.com platform, Chatter is of course integrated with / embedded into the Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. It goes much way beyond just a collaboration tool for CRM though.

Designed and built in a “Facebook”-like paradigm, the platform produces a “news” feed of enterprise information and other social information. Chatter is open with an open API, and can connect to Twitter, Facebook and other public social networks in real-time, but the platform also can connect to other apps and content. The apps and content can then interact with or update the news feed. So what’s included in the Chatter social platform? There’s a profile that users can build and


200911181550.jpg Today at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference CEO Marc Benioff announced a new “mystery” product called Salesforce Chatter. Calling the category “collaboration cloud” is technically accurate but frankly understates the product, which is in reality a very strong offering in the category of social software. Chatter, which will be available early next year, is a social platform that brings together content, apps and people. In other words this offering capitalizes on the concept of “people as the platform.” Built on the Force.com platform, Chatter is of course integrated with / embedded into the Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. It goes much way beyond just a collaboration tool for CRM though.

Designed and built in a “Facebook”-like paradigm, the platform produces a “news” feed of enterprise information and other social information. Chatter is open with an open API, and can connect to Twitter, Facebook and other public social networks in real-time, but the platform also can connect to other apps and content. The apps and content can then interact with or update the news feed. So what’s included in the Chatter social platform? There’s a profile that users can build and update much like Facebook including status updates.

The news feed is the core of the platform and all the status updates including the apps update there. A user can create ad hoc groups of people and apps as well. Content from any connected app can be shared in your feed or to a group. Because it’s built on the Force.com platform, it has the same level of security, which is enterprise class of course. Chatter is also tightly integrated with Google Docs through the Google Data API’s.

From a business model standpoint the current plan (which could change by the time of release) is to include Chatter for all CRM users no matter which edition they use for no additional fee, and to sell stand-a-lone Chatter for the same price as the current Force.com price, $50/user/month. There’s also been some public discussion of the possibility of a freemium model but nothing concrete was announced.

So why do I think this announcement is important. Well, first, this is an example of a social enterprise app / platform (a very good example) and exemplifies what I posted here. I am convinced that what we need to enable the transformation to a social business is this type of embedded social platform that can openly connect the company’s other apps with the people in a seamless fashion and in real-time. The focus with Chatter moves from the app itself (like most enterprise apps today) and instead focuses on the people… people become the platform of the new social business.