Cloud Providers Locked And Loaded For Social Revolution


For the better part of the year, companies like Salesforce, Google and a host of others have been screaming one word from the mountaintop: "social."

Whether it's adding Facebook connections to business apps, making Twitter and another app play nice, or consistently updating what you're doing in an internal enterprise feed; social is all the rage.

Salesforce.com is the true trumpeter of social. At its Dreamforce 2011 and Cloudforce New York events, CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff played the role of revival tent preacher and said, in so many words: "go social, or go home." To prove his point, he pedaled out marquee customers like Burberry, Toyota, Coca-Cola -- big name after big name that now pray at the social church and are seeing big business boosts because of it.

Loosely defined as a confluence of social, mobile and open cloud solutions, "href=http:>

But it's not just Benioff and Salesforce pushing the social boom. Other major companies are taking attributes once reserved only for Facebook and burrowing them into the enterprise.

Google, too, has jumped into the fold, most recently offering its Google Apps users access to its Google+ social network platform to enable it for business use. Google Apps users can now leverage the social platform, which lets users put friends, colleagues and other acquaintances into groups called "circles" based on relationship or other factors. From there, they can communicate and collaborate with certain groups, launch video conferences and sharing via a feature called Hangout with Extras and work together on Google Docs.

And in the middle of the social revolution is the channel. If cloud computing made solution providers conductors, then the "social revolution," as Benioff bills it, requires a true choreographer.

By many accounts, the social revolution is already happening. But for solution providers, it's appears to be just the beginning.

"This has hit a nerve for companies that they were seeing but couldn't articulate," said Narinder Singh, co-founder and chief strategy officer for San Mateo, Calif.-based cloud provider Appirio, which just recently launched a social toolkit of apps to help bridge the divide between social platforms and add more functionality to customer social infrastructures.

Singh said the idea of a social enterprise has sparked customers' interest -- more so than with cloud computing. Singh said with cloud computing, there was always an "if," with social it's "when and how." And that has opened doors for Appirio to come in and ask, "How do we make you a social enterprise?"

NEXT: Social Enterprise Is Still In 'Super Early' Stages