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November 19, 2009

Salesforce talks Chatter

Social networking for the enterprise

By Vinod

Salesforce.com aims to bring the consumer power of social networking into the enterprise with the launch of Chatter.

Speaking at the company’s massive annual Dreamforce conference, CEO Marc Benioff, said Chatter aimed to bring the “magic of Facebook and Twitter” to the enterprise.

“With Salesforce Chatter, we’re going to see the magic of content, apps and people – that same magic we already see on consumer social networks – the real-time model – brought to the enterprise,” he said.

Benioff pointed out that information about people spread far more quickly on Facebook and Twitter than it did with a whole host of enterprise tools. I know when my friends have gone to the movies, but I don’t know when my VP of sales last visited my top customer. I know when I’ve been tagged in a photo, but don’t know when a key document has been updated,” he said.

Using Chatter, employees will be able to post their profiles, photos or areas of expertise, just like consumers do in Facebook. Meanwhile, staff can update colleagues on the progress of sales meeting or projects with Twitter-style updates.

Chatter is Saleforce.com’s first step out of its business applications comfort zone and into collaboration territory, an area already dominated by the likes of Microsoft Sharepoint, Outlook and IBM Lotus Notes.

Chatter will be available free to existing customers early next year.

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