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Salesforce Takes Chatter Social Network to Next Level

Salesforce Takes Chatter Social Network to Next Level
March 28, 2013 9:33AM

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"The industry is moving toward social and mobile sales, service and marketing much more quickly than many realize," said IDC's Frank Gens of the moves at Salesforce.com. "Companies that are not putting their competitive energy into arming their employees for these areas will be trapped in the legacy portion of the market."

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Salesforce.com just rolled out the next generation of its enterprise social network with social and mobile CRM in mind. With the latest iteration of Chatter, Salesforce.com is offering new features that let companies access, create, and act on customer information within Salesforce in the Chatter feed, from any device.

Salesforce.com noted that the shift to social and mobile cloud computing has empowered companies to connect with their customers in entirely new ways and become what the company calls "customer companies." Salesforce.com defines customer companies as ones that listen to every customer, engage on every channel and deliver great customer service everywhere. They sell as a team, connect products to the network and deliver apps on any device.

"Companies are grappling with the new business world where every customer has a voice through social and mobile technologies and expectations for immediate engagement," said Nasi Jazayeri, executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce Chatter at Salesforce.com. Jazayeri is pushing a single message with the new Chatter: "Every company employee can put the customer first to deliver amazing sales, service or marketing experiences right from the feed."

CRM Moves Mobile

The new Chatter lets companies access all customer information stored inside Salesforce including customer accounts, campaigns, cases, leads, opportunities and custom apps built on top of the Salesforce Platform. Users can get real-time updates -- such as a quote approval, service inquiry or social conversation -- to connect with customers in entirely new ways.

Chatter also lets users create and edit information and notifications from the new publisher that lets them scroll through a variety of actions including files, photos, polls, tasks and thanks. In just a couple of taps, users can create a task, edit a contract or even create a custom action.

Finally, users can act on updates around contacts, accounts, opportunities, campaigns and custom records directly from the feed. For example, a sales rep in a taxi can see a deal update in the feed and send the necessary files to close the deal -- making every moment actionable.

"The industry is moving toward social and mobile sales, service and marketing much more quickly than many realize," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC. "Companies that are not putting their competitive energy into arming their employees for these areas will be trapped in the legacy portion of the market."

Positioning Chatter as Integral

Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, said the task management features of Chatter stood out as a good example of Salesforce realizing an advantage it has not yet fully leveraged in the industry -- to position Chatter as an integral component within their broader business applications.

"Salesforce has improved search, too, which is a bugaboo with most of these enterprise social networking solutions because they are not search vendors," Shimmin told us. "Content generators within their organization really need a strong mechanism to make sense of all the content generated day in and day out on posts and likes and comments and files. So seeing Salesforce spend some money refining search is heartening."

Salesforce Chatter is optimized for Android phones and iOS devices. It is generally available now and included with all Salesforce editions. Salesforce Chatter's create-and-edit record capability is scheduled to be available the second half of 2013. The Salesforce Chatter mobile application is free for all Salesforce.com customers.

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