New Salesforce Service Plays Nice With Third-Party Cloud Storage


Salesforce.com on Thursday said it's running a private beta for Salesforce Files, its new name for the Chatterbox file-synching service it unveiled at Dreamforce last September.

Salesforce Files makes corporate files stored on third-party systems easily accessible to sales and marketing teams, so they can make decisions and close deals more quickly, Nasi Jazayeri, executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce Chatter, said in a press conference at Salesforce.com's San Francisco-based headquarters.

Many enterprises are storing corporate files on Dropbox, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Drive and other cloud-based content management systems. Finding these files and making them available to sales and marketing teams can be a tedious, time-consuming process.

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Salesforce.com doesn't host or replicate files on third-party systems, and it's not selling Files as a standalone service, so this shouldn't be interpreted as a shot across the bow of Dropbox and other cloud storage vendors, Jazayeri said.

Instead, Files provides a uniform user interface to the corporate files on third-party systems. Salesforce.com stores the metadata pointing to where the corporate files reside, and files get streamed from there to the customer's PC or mobile device, said Jazayeri.

Salesforce.com is using APIs from third-party vendors, and it's also using Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS), an open standard for connecting to content repositories.

Connecting corporate files in third-party data stores outside Salesforce has been one of customers' biggest pain points with Chatterbox, Anna Rosenman, senior manager of Salesforce Chatter, said at the press conference.

"Customers are always saving and storing files in a million different places, so we didn't want to create a new repository," Rosenman said.

Salesforce.com intends to weave Salesforce Files into all its core products, and it's "planning to build a whole ecosystem around it" at some point, Jazayeri said. For now, Salesforce Files is only about accessing files, but the vendor is also planning to add document editing at some point, he said.

Salesforce Files includes technology from Salesforce's acquisition in February of EntropySoft, a French content management vendor. Salesforce.com is currently running a beta of the service and is aiming to make it publicly available in February 2014.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 5, 2013

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