Salesforce.com wants to put Chatter, its new social collaboration platform, into the hands of every corporate user who needs to work with customers or with co-workers to solve problems, provide service or share ideas. Salesforce.com is offering Chatter-only licenses for customers that are already using the Salesforce.com suite so that companies can deploy the collaboration platform beyond the sales and marketing organization.
wants to take its new Chatter social collaboration platform that it officially
released on June 22 far beyond the realm of the corporate sales and marketing
department and put it in the hands of every business user with a need to
of June 22, more than 6,000 customers had switched on Chatter as part of their
suite of Salesforce.com customer relationship management, customer service and
collaboration applications, Salesforce.com founder and CEO
Marc Benioff said. Chatter is now available to all current Salesforce.com users
at no additional charge.
next goal for Salesforce.com is to get as many users as possible inside the
company's 77,300 customers to start using Chatter as their general-purpose
has a Facebook-like interface that allows employees to link up and collaborate
on any project or problem of mutual interest through the exchange of messages,
files, documents or Web links. It was initially developed as an add-on
application to help sales teams track leads and sales opportunities all the
way to signed sales agreements.
there is nothing to prevent enterprises from using Chatter as a business
collaboration platform across an entire organization. To that end,
Salesforce.com is offering Chatter-only user licenses for existing customers of
the Salesforce.com Professional Edition, Enterprise Edition or the Unlimited
Edition for $15 per user per month.
would allow companies to deploy Chatter for all its employees without also
committing to buying the entire Salesforce.com suite. It would also allow
Salesforce.com to market Chatter as a business-ready social collaboration
alternative for companies that are currently using Facebook or other social
networking tools, either officially or on an ad hoc basis as business
also demonstrated Chatter running natively on the Apple iPad, and Benioff said his
company will ensure that Chatter will run without a hitch on every major mobile
device that is widely deployed in enterprises, whether it is the BlackBerry,
Android phones and other tablet devices.
the Chatter launch held at the San Jose Convention here, Benioff brought Apple
executive Michael Tchao, a self-described Apple "retread" who helped develop
the original Apple Newton tablets and returned to help develop the iPad.
he said, is proud of its achievement of selling 3 million iPads in the first 80
days of its availability. He noted that the company had sold 3 million iPhones
in the first 74 days of availability.
also announced that it now has 60 Chatter-enabled applications on its
AppExchange 2 application market. These applications include the CA Agile
Vision Team Editions from CA Technologies, which is a planning tool for the
"agile" application development process aimed at helping development teams
produce new applications faster and more efficiently.
Chatter applications include FinancialForce Accounting and Chatterbox.
Financial Force accounting is a cloud accounting application that allows the
financial departments of organizations that use Salesforce.com's CRM
platform to simplify the process of preparing invoices, collecting payments and
servicing customers on sales generated from the CRM
is a rules-based system that monitors predefined business data and alerts users
about impending business situations or events that require some intervention.
It might be like a fall or rise in product inventory. Or it could be an alert
that a company is falling back on sales quotas.
number of major Salesforce.com customers were on hand to talk about how they
are implementing Chatter. Among the most prominent was Dell, one of
Salesforce.com's largest customers. Dell plans to widely implement Chatter
throughout the organization and expects to extend its use to the company's
various business partners, said John Miles, vice president of IT with Dell's
Sales and Marketing Group.
Dell, which has been using Chatter since the start of the
beta evaluation program in February, has about 30,000 active Chatter users who
are part of Dell's sales organization. Anywhere from 18,000 to 19,000 of these
users usually log in on any given day, Miles said.
The company would like to eventually extend the
collaboration capabilities of Chatter to more than 100,000 Dell users around
the globe, he said.
"One of the key aspects of this is that we operate in
over 180 countries around the globe. There are only a few companies of our size
that have that degree of geographical dispersion," Miles said. Cloud-based
applications like Salesforce.com and Chatter give Dell the
opportunity to widely deploy Web-based collaboration applications
using Salesforce.com's global data center infrastructure.
"We already have a global license for all of
Salesforce.com's products, including Chatter," Miles said. So it is only a
matter of implementing the on-demand application to additional employees as
Dell is also has its eye on "taking Chatter from an
internal use to an external use so we can collaborate with all of our partners,"
Miles said. Dell's many VARs and alliance partners would be able to
collaborate on product development and sales ideas as well as on customer
service and problem resolution issues, he said.
John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.