As per usual for Salesforce's great leader, Marc Benioff kicked off this year's Dreamforce conference with a keynote speech and heightened sense of enthusiasm. Among this morning's tips: how social and business can (and should) co-exist.
Born Cloud, Reborn Social
“It’s an amazing time in our industry,” he began, highlighting how quickly we've moved to the cloud -- and how quickly we continue to move. The change hasn't been easy, especially for people who've been set in their ways for a long while now. After all, moving and keeping all of your sensitive data up in the virtual ether can still sound risky.
But even more disconcerting for these folks is how quickly we've moved from the cloud to social, and the speed with which the trend is spreading. “It’s a social revolution and it’s not just about consumers," he continued. "It’s about enterprise.”
And thus, this morning's keynote began with a discussion on bridging the gap between social and business. According to this founder, it requires three essential steps:
1. Get a Social Database
"Delighting customers is knowing who they are and what they like," said Benioff. How close are you paying attention to yours? Are you watching for status updates? Noting Twitter handles? Are you learning from and growing with your customers in real time? You should be, and keeping a record of their social activity is absolutely essential to this process.
2. Get an Employee Social Network
Salesforce announced their "Facebook for the Enterprise" platform called Chatter while many companies were still speculating over whether or not getting social in the business world was a good idea. Two years later it's clear that there's no stopping the consumerization of it, but we've come to learn that just as no man is an island, neither is an enterprise collaboration platform.
In other words, you can't just sign up for an internal network and expect business processes to improve. It takes building an open network that can touch multiple -- if not all -- points of an organization's ecosystem. "It's about integrating processes and workflow into that network," continued Benioff. "It's about custom applications."
3. Get Customer Social Networks
A natural result of the popularity of consumer networks and growing interest in their internal counterparts has been networks within networks. Now, grouping together can be and is done in several contexts. Benioff specifically pushes Customer, Product and Partner networks.
The New Goods
Naturally, the company's latest offerings -- also announced today -- fall inline with the above. To facilitate step one, Benioff announced that Database.com is now open to all developers. Moreover, the announcement is not without an assist. Along with the invitation comes the Data Residency Option (DRO) -- the ability to include personally stored data in Salesforce.com applications.
Perhaps allowing companies with unbreakable corporate policies, or just those with a tad more paranoia, get on the Salesforce train without risk will convince them to be more open to database.com, or open in general.
In any case, the location of your data is your choice.
Benioff and co. also went into a demo of the newest version of Chatter, which features real-time chat, screen-sharing and the ability to invite members from other businesses to limited groups. All in all, it looks like the the competition between Salesforce and companies such as Yammer will continue to be a stiff one.