Salesforce.com has added another layer of collaboration for its enterprise customers. The software company on Thursday added more features to Chatter, its cloud-computing collaboration platform.
After nearly two months of introducing the new platform to some customers, Salesforce.com has extended its Chatter beta program to more than 500 companies and launched the AppExchange 2 with ChatterExchange.
Salesforce.com, which reported a $1.3 million revenue run rate and nearly 72,500 customers in November, said Chatter is part of the evolution in cloud computing, a model it has stood behind since it was first introduced because it is much faster, easier and has a lower cost, according Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com.
"With today's announcement, salesforce.com is advancing the shift to Cloud 2, where productivity gains are going to come from real-time collaboration available on any device" Benioff said. "We've seen the future of enterprise software, and it looks more like Facebook on the iPad than Yahoo on the PC."
Behind the Chatter
The collaboration platform, which resembles Facebook, gives customers the use of profiles, status updates, groups, feeds and document sharing at both the application and platform level. Chatter enables customers and ISVs to build applications that are collaboration apps as well as use the functionality of Chatter to create more productivity, according to Benioff.
There are now more than a dozen Chatter partner applications available in the ChatterExchange on AppExchange 2, including FinancialForce.com, Genius.com and Jobpartners, to name a few. More than 15 Force.com Labs apps are listed for free in ChatterExchange, including ChatterViz, Chatter Case Triage, Chatter Live Tag Cloud, and Chatter + Google Alerts.
Behind the Chatter platform are several features. Enterprise customers using Chatter will have the ability to create user profiles similar to Facebook's friends profiles. Chatter enables users to update what they are working on from anywhere. The update feature enables employees to keep colleagues updated on what they are doing in an effort to avoid duplicating efforts and reducing e-mail traffic between employees.
Salesforce.com also created a Groups feature so that colleagues working on a specific project can work together in real time to share links, documents and thoughts. Users also get application alerts that notify them of changes. Updates are automatically posted to users' feed.
The engineers behind Chatter also created a feature that allows users to link social networks and blogs. Currently users can only link Facebook and Twitter to their Chatter page.
The first release of Chatter will be available "sometime in 2010" and will be included in all paid editions of Salesforce CRM and Force.com, according to the company.
Getting Things Done
Using Chatter enables various departments within a company to collaborate and interact, according to Jon Green of Den-Mat Holdings.
"Chatter allows us to take care of the issues in 24 hours, but it also allows us to collaborate outside our individual groups so marketing sees its, sales sees it, operations sees it, and we all have visibility to the conversation and we can action things to get done right there in real time," Green said.
Saatchi & Saatchi is also beta-testing Chatter. "Chatter revolutionizes the way our geographically dispersed teams can collaborate and boost productivity from anywhere," said Brand DuBose, management director at Saatchi & Saatchi. "With Chatter, our people can change the game by sharing critical information, insights and best practices to ensure that our biggest ideas and best work are implemented in real time."