Salesforce.com at Dreamforce 2011 Wednesday officially put the spotlight on its vision of the social enterprise, a concept that pulls from mobile, social and open cloud technologies to create new businesses models.
And to ring in the era of the social enterprise, Salesforce launched a host of new products to enable the social enterprise revolution. Combined, Benioff said, the products weave together various technologies to develop social customer profiles, create employee social networks and build customer social networks and product social networks.
First, Salesforce's social strategy took center stage. Salesforce showcased social customer profiles into Salesforce, where customer profiles have direct links to customer social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, while also adding customer photos and other information.
Salesforce also undertook a massive makeover for its social networking and collaboration application Chatter, which Salesforce launched at Dreamforce 2009.
Chatter Now adds real-time collaboration by adding presence capabilities to show users when their contacts and colleagues are online, which enables instant chats without leaving Chatter, Benioff said. Once connected, users can share screens and collaborate on files and documents. Chatter Custom Groups let users invite people from outside their organizations into their Chatter network, breaking down the silos to let customers and partners collaborate in private and secure groups.
"You can bring your customers into a private Chatter group and collaborate with them right there," said Salesforce CMO Kraig Swensrud.
Chatter Approvals let users take action on any approval process from within Chatter, meaning sales discounts, hiring decisions, vacation requests and other approvals can be made without leaving Chatter.
Salesforce's Service Cloud also was updated with Chatter. Service Cloud with Chatter Service, now features community feeds to push answers to customers; suggested knowledge where articles are recommended based on the content of a question; crowd-sourced answers; connection to customer social networks with Facebook integration; and agent escalation, which lets questions be escalated to an agent if the community doesn't answer them in a pre-defined time period.
"Now you can put Chatter right on your Web site," Benioff said.
Salesforce Wednesday also launched Data.com, a new offering that gives sales and marketing pros information to plan, target and execute sales and marketing campaigns within Salesforce. The service unifies socially crowd-sources contact information from Jigsaw and company information from Dun & Bradstreet into a single place to help users build and maintain social profiles on customers.
"With Data.com you can access the world's leading data providers right inside our Salesforce systems," Benioff said.
Additionally, Salesforce also made major updates to its Sales Cloud sales app to make it more social. Among roughly 150 Sales Cloud updates on tap for winter 2012, Sales Cloud will sport Collaborative Forecasts for forecast management; Deal Rooms for customer groups that let users and customers connect during the sales process; Social Contacts to know customer questions, requests and likes prior to calling; Dynamic Dashboard Filters and Mobile Dashboards to create a single view of the business and toggle between products, regions and groups; Salesforce for Outlook Task Sync and 2010 64-bit, with accelerators which now syncs tasks quick with support for 64-bit versions of Outlook 2010; and Chatter for Outlook, which lets users put recent Chatter posts into Outlook.
"The Sales Cloud has completely gone social," said Swensrud.
Salesforce also demonstrated the functionality of Radian6, the social network monitoring service Salesforce acquired earlier this year. Benioff said Radian6 tracks what customers say on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and communities and lets companies listen, monitor and analyze social networks. Radian6 is now integrated into Salesforce, so companies can respond to and engage with customers via various social channels. That information can also be added to the customer's social profile.
Next: Salesforce Goes Mobile; The Cloud Opens Up
On the mobile side, Salesforce launched a new version of Salesforce specifically designed for touch-screen devices like the Apple iPad, iPhone and Google Android Devices. Touch.salesforce.com uses HTML5 technology, which Benioff said lets developers build native apps for mobile devices. The new service lets users access Salesforce from smartphones and tablets. Customizations and recently accessed items are synced from touch.salesforce.com among all mobile devices, be them laptops, smartphones or tablets. The first touch.salesforce.com release is slated for general availability in early 2012. The first release will focus on Sales Cloud objects and related customizations, Salesforce said. Touch.salesforce.com will also enhance the Force.com by letting Force.com developers mobilize existing Force.com apps and build new, secure mobile apps quickly and easily.
"All of that hard work, all of the investments … are now running native on these devices," Benioff said.
Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris added: "This technology is going to permeate everything we do."
And for open cloud computing, Salesforce showcased new advancements within two of its key cloud platforms Heroku and Database.com to help developers target the social enterprise to build social, mobile and cloud apps.
First, Heroku for Java opens the door to Java developers and adds new language support to Heroku, which has long been a Ruby-based platform. Salesforce acquired Heroku last year and the platform now supports Java, Ruby on Rails, Clojure and Node.js.
Salesforce also showed off an With another Chatter update that has open cloud computing at its heart, Chatter Connect opens up chatter to third-party applications, using a REST API developers can integrate chatter into other applications, like intranets and portals, custom mobile apps and enterprise apps. Salesforce also launched Chatter for SharePoint, which lets users embed Chatter feeds into SharePoint MySite or TeamSite and share documents from SharePoint to Chatter.
Meanwhile, Database.com, Saleforce's underlying multi-tenant cloud database service for developers, is now generally available and Salesforce has launched Database.com Data Residency Option, which lets companies keep readable versions of sensitive data where they want and still fulfill all data requirements while using Database.com. Data can stay in a user data center or in a Salesforce data center.
"This lets you take data that may be in your data center and include it in your Salesforce.com applications," Benioff said.