Salesforce.com introduced Service Cloud 3, the latest version of its cloud-based customer service platform, designed to leverage social networks such as Facebook.
NEW YORK-Salesforce.com unveiled its Service Cloud 3
platform March 3, coupling the announcement to a high-profile event at New York
City's Javits Center headlined by CEO Marc Benioff.
The third iteration of Salesforce's cloud-based customer
service platform lets businesses analyze and respond to customer feedback
filtering from social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The company claims
those businesses will be able to manage immense amounts of data through those
Should a customer Tweet or post a Facebook message about a
company's product, and that company uses Service Cloud 3, employees will be
able to click on a dashboard tab labeled "Social Conversations" and see that
customer's missive in real-time. Employees can also monitor broader swaths of
data, via dashboard metrics such as "Twitter Volume by Product" or "Cases by
In addition, employees can also escalate a customer's case
for their colleagues' attention, and post a solution to a particular issue on a
Facebook wall or Twitter. Salesforce has also begun leveraging mobile devices'
video-conferencing features, notably Apple's FaceTime, to allow customer
representatives to resolve an issue in a more face-to-face way.
The introduction of Service Cloud 3 comes as part of a rapid
cycle of product releases from Salesforce.com. In September, the company
unveiled Chatter 2, the next version of its Chatter collaboration platform,
which allows employees to post comments and share files in a Facebook-style
environment. In December, it unveiled Database.com, a
standalone cloud database for IT pros creating applications
For some time, Salesforce has advocated the presence of
social media tools within the enterprise. In late 2009, the company introduced
Salesforce.com for Twitter, which allows customer service personnel to monitor
public conversations about a product. Through its AppExchange 2 storefront,
Salesforce.com users can also download apps such as Chatter Mass Follower and
Chatter Live Tag Cloud.
"We're standing on the shoulders of these consumer giants,"
Benioff told the audience during his keynote, referring to Facebook and similar
He then described a recent trip to Davos, and a conversation
with Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer. "I said,
you're an expert in our industry: If Salesforce.com did not exist, how many
servers would our 100,000 customers have to buy?"
Mundie apparently did the calculations. "He said, you know,
those customers might have to buy 200,000 to 300,000 PC servers," Benioff said.
"That's the power of the [cloud] model."
Benioff has spent the past few months trading barbs with
Oracle CEO (and former boss) Larry Ellison, who is also determined to move his
company aggressively into the CRM and cloud space. In addition, Microsoft has
also made no secret of its designs on cloud-based enterprise software.