's Chatter to Bring Facebook Look, Twitter Feeds to Business Users

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2009-11-18 Print this article Print
  demonstrated a new work group collaboration tool dubbed "Chatter" as the highlight of opening keynote of its annual Dreamforce user conference Nov. 18 at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center. Chatter is designed with a Facebook-like interface and allows users to set up real-time feeds of selected Twitter posts. Chatter will run as part of Salesforce's customer relationship management platform with the object of enabling enterprises to set up collaboration groups to share information, close business deals or solve customer problems.

SAN FRANCISCO-After watching Facebook and Twitter build huge membership lists over the last several years, has moved to make "social collaboration" an organic part of its cloud-based customer relationship management platform.

The company introduced Salesforce Chatter, which it describes as a "secure enterprise collaboration application and social development platform," as the highlight of the opening keynote on Nov. 18 at its annual Dreamforce user conference and expo at Moscone Convention Center here.

Speaking in the cavernous Moscone Center South exposition hall that was packed with at least half of the 18,000 registered participants in this year's Dreamforce conference, Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff said the addition of Chatter will allow his customers to turn the platform from a CRM platform into a "Collaboration Management" platform.

Benioff, who described himself as an avid Facebook user who has as many as 5,000 friends to his credit, said he believes it is critical for the and the computer industry to move social networking into the enterprise to take advantage of its power to help work groups, to share information, to focus employee knowledge and experience on constantly changing problems and business needs..

After building up a large following on Facebook, Benioff said he had to ask himself "Why do I know more about strangers on Facebook than my own employees working for my own company?"

One of the key features of Chatter will gather profile information on employees including contact information, interests, areas of expertise, projects they are working on, and their position in the corporate structure. This will make it easy for employees and their managers to find people with the information and experience to answer questions and solve problems, Benioff said.

Chatter will also provide links to both Twitter and Facebook. Salesforce Users will be able to filter the most relevant Twitter feeds into Chatter to track the competition, to watch for new business leads and follow developments or user opinions about a particular product or industry. Employees will also being to pull selected information from their Facebook profiles to populate their Chatter profiles. Chatter will also deliver real-time feeds of updated content and status reports from Salesforce's core CRM platform.

A specific "Groups" feature in Chatter lets users create collaboration groups as needed to share content, assign tasks, or exchange updates. In the context of core customer relationship management and sales management mission, Chatter is supposed to provide a built in way for users to track and follow through on sales opportunity, track sales results in real time, and resolve customer problems and complaints as quickly as possible.

John Pallatto John Pallatto is'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.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel