Benioff Outlines Salesforce's Social Networking Push


Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff outlined his company's move into social networking for businesses Wednesday, including the introduction of Chatterbox, a cloud-based file syncing and sharing feature added to the Chatter collaboration application.

Benioff, in a three-hour keynote at the company's Dreamforce 2012 conference in San Francisco, introduced a series of top flight executives to demonstrate their companies' use of Salesforce's social networking apps for sales, marketing, mobility, human resources and customer relations.

Benioff told more than 20,000 attendees that Salesforce is committed to moving traditional business applications to social networking environments.

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"The social revolution is going on right now, and it is unlike anything we've experienced before," Benioff said. "Business is social. Social networking is the fastest growing segment of the industry."

The new programs include Chatter Communities, with Chatterbox; Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a social networking platform for marketing; Data.com Social Key, a platform to access and analyze data from social media; Touch, a mobility application optimized for tablets and phones on the Salesforce platform; and Salesforce Sales Cloud, a feature to connect with customers and build sales in a social networking environment.

Virgin America CEO David Cush said the airline plans to add seatback touchscreens using Chatter with Chatterbox, which will allow users to save and send files to community members as part of Chatter communications streams.

Chatterbox will not be generally released until next year.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia is using Salesforce Marketing Cloud to unify and manage content, engagement, advertising, workflow, automation and measurement on a social networking platform.

Andy Lark, chief marketing officer for the bank, said marketing operations have become more efficient with the use of Marketing Cloud.

"Marketing has been one of the last occupations in the enterprise to go through this [social networking] transformation," Lark said. "[Marketing Cloud] will finally let marketers sit around a table and reach conclusions about ROI."

Tony Prophet, Hewlett-Packard's senior vice president of operations, said HP is using the Salesforce social networking platform and is continuing to expand its use.

"HP is using social to transform the way we go to market," Prophet told Benioff. "We have 12,000 users, and we are embedding social deployments into process. We're confident this new way of doing business will enhance communication with our employees, customers and suppliers."

PUBLISHED SEPT. 19, 2012