After roughly half a year of waiting and squirming and teasing and such, Salesforce (news, site) has finally taken Chatter, a collaboration platform commonly referred to as "Facebook for the enterprise," out of beta.
Socializing in an Enterprise Context
Salesforce.com's CEO Marc Benioff is a heavy hitter for the enterprise looking and feeling like successful social networks such as Facebook, and Chatter is essentially that dream realized. The tool takes the fundamental communication and collaboration features we've come to expect in our online social lives and hooks them into the Salesforce.com platform:
Chatter's been given a few new features since last we looked at it, including a Groups tool for users who want to create public or private groups for sharing information. And, because it's based on the Force.com system, applications and extensions can be built with Chatter-explicit functions. This also means Chatter is accessible from all other core Salesforce products, and the 160,000+ applications built on the Force.com platform.
What It Will Cost You
Chatter is available right, right now. Current Salesforce.com customers get it for free, but Salesforce is offering Chatter-only licenses for US $15 per user, per month. This move certainly stiffens competition and is a cool option for businesses that want to connect their employees without shelling out the dough to hook each and every one of them up with Salesforce CRM credentials.
Overall the offering is fairly aggressive, but it's a good time to be aggressive. As we saw at this year's Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, the buzz word is collaboration. Vendors of all types, shapes and sizes are working to push solutions that do just what Chatter does, but it seems like few are as extensible.
"Salesforce Chatter is the most exciting thing I've worked on in my career," said Benioff. "Delivering Chatter is a seminal moment and one that marks the arrival of Cloud 2."
Think it'll be a success? Prefer a different solution? Let us know why in the comments below.