As part of a my review of Salesforce.com’s Free Chatter platform I created a Chatter account based on my Ziff Davis Enterprise email account and invited several of my labs and editorial colleagues to join me in using the platform. Yesterday I got a call from the Salesforce.com administrator in our corporate IT department.
It turns out that the Company is going to start using Chatter as part of the licensed CRM implementation that has been in use for some time. The reason for the call is that none of the people who answered my call to be a part of the no-cost Free Chatter test can be invited to join the paid implementation. The Salesforce platform enforces the notion that an email address can be used only once. Further, it appears there is currently no way to combine a Free Chatter organization with a paid Salesforce CRM organization.
I point this out in the blog because it’s a shortcoming in an otherwise useful product that I discovered after the testing was done. In order for the twenty or so people that enrolled in the Free Chatter test to join the Ziff Davis conversation in Salesforce, I had to send a note to Salesforce asking for the Free Chatter account to be deactivated. I started that process at approximately 9:30 a.m. Pacific time. Five hours later, I haven’t received a confirmation email regarding my request and the account is still active.
Here’s how I wish the process would have worked: 1. I wish I could have conferred super administrator rights on to our designated Salesforce admin. In this case, the email request to deactivate the Free Chatter account is only accepted from the email address that instantiated the account.
2. I wish that there was a method for combining Free Chatter with paid Salesforce. Since the identities in Free Chatter are based on our corporate email, it seems like this would be a pretty straightforward process.
3. I wish that Salesforce would have sent me an email as soon as my deactivation request was received. The fact that it wasn’t feels me with a sinking feeling that there is some kind a human-driven process (Salesforce human receives email, said human starts some kind of manual deactivation process that involves one or more other Salesforce humans checking on the Free Chatter account and looking for a help desk troubleticket matching our licensed Salesforce admin’s request for help on integrating Chatter organizations.) 4. I wish we could bring the history and activity stream from Free Chatter with us to paid Salesforece. According to all sources, the activity stream and all history will be deep-sixed with the Free Chatter organization.
5. I wish that the Free Chatter account creation process would have done some cross-checking with paid Salesforce to see if the email address @ziffdavisenterprise.com was associated with a paid account. And then I wish that a process had been kicked off to alert our Salesforce admin that someone (namely me) was going rogue and creating a Free Chatter account.
Instead, I’m standing by, wondering what will happen next.