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Salesforce Readies 'Company Communities' Social Intranet

Salesforce Readies 'Company Communities' Social Intranet
By Barry Levine

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Company Communities will be similar to Salesforce's Communities, except intended for internal use. The Company version will allow businesses to create customized, hosted intranets for employees to exchange content, find internal experts or knowledge, and collaborate using other integrated Salesforce.com or third-party applications.
 


A cloud-based intranet with enterprise social networking. That's the idea behind a new offering that Salesforce.com plans to launch later this year.

The product, called Company Communities, is built around the company's Chatter enterprise social networking application, with the addition of intranet-like features. Additionally, Company Communities will be optimized for mobile devices. Pricing and release date have not yet been announced.

At the beginning of this month, Salesforce launched another product called Communities, which is designed to create social communities that contain business data and processes, a combination of portal and social solutions. That Communities is intended for such uses as interaction between partners and distributors or between brands and agencies, for delivering customer service, and for other such externally facing needs.

Social Intranets

Company Communities will be similar to Communities, except intended for internal use. The Company version will allow businesses to create customized, branded and hosted intranets for employees to exchange content, find internal experts or knowledge, and collaborate using other, integrated Salesforce.com or third-party applications.

The social collaborative and intranet space is booming, with targeted products from Microsoft's Yammer, Jive Software, Socialtext, Igloo and others, as well as social collaborative components in a wide range of larger intranet products, like Microsoft SharePoint or IBM Connections.

Many companies, even ones that are fairly advanced in their external Web sites, mobile apps and social marketing, still utilize intranets that are static and old-school. Salesforce Executive Vice President Mike Rosenbaum has told news media that companies are spending $2 billion annually on "underwhelming intranet Web sites" that modern employees, many of them bringing their own mobile devices to work, simply do not use.

Mobile Government, Clipboard

Salesforce is hoping to build on its strength, which is its existing base of enterprise users of its CRM and other applications. Company Communities can be integrated with those services, allowing employees access to the apps and data they use everyday for marketing, sales, customer service and other functions. Given that Company Communities is not expected until sometime in the second half of this year, Salesforce is hoping its installed base will help make up for its lateness to this game.

In addition to the emphasis it has put on social applications like Chatter, Salesforce has been promoting mobile. A week ago, for instance, it launched a mobile version of its e-government line of products that is optimized for use by citizens and government workers and contains social elements.

Also in May, Salesforce bought start-up Clipboard for a reported $12 million. Clipboard offered the ability to share and collect Web-based content, not unlike Evernote, which is widely used by businesses. Via a desktop bookmark, Clipboard users could share Web content on boards, with the content -- including videos or Google Maps -- retaining their original functionalities, in most cases.

Clipboard's team was integrated into Salesforce, and tasked with building similar capabilities for its new owners. Such capabilities could add to a new style of intranet, providing content sharing tools for knowledge management and for collaboration.
 

Tell Us What You Think
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Mark Bowen:

Posted: 2013-06-22 @ 4:54pm PT
I've been using a much cheaper CRM software than Salesforce that has all the same functions as Chatter. The company is jollycloudcrm.com and is a tiny fraction of the price for other CRM vendors.



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