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Salesforce.com Cuts Ribbon on Chatter App Exchange

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
Apr 8, 2010 1:08 PM PT

Salesforce.com has launched ChatterExchange, an app marketplace for Chatter, the enterprise collaboration platform it introduced earlier this year. It is built on "Cloud 2" -- the company's name for the next generation of cloud computing: social, collaborative, and capable of delivering real-time access to data and information across new mobile devices.

Salesforce.com Cuts Ribbon on Chatter App Exchange

ChatterExchange launched with 12 Chatter-enabled partner applications and more than 15 apps from Force.com Labs. The partner companies include Appirio, CA, DocuSign, EchoSign, Fairsail, FinancialForce.com, Genius.com, Jobpartners, Jobscience, ServiceMax and Xactium. Apps developed by Force.com Labs include ChatterViz, Chatter Case Triage, Chatter Mass Follower, Chatter Timeline, Chatter Live Tag Cloud and Chatter + Google Alerts.

At the same time, Salesforce.com has expanded its beta test for Salesforce Chatter to 500 companies from the original launch of 100 in February. New firms participating in the beta include Enterasys Networks and Saatchi & Saatchi.

There is a 2,000-company waiting list to access the beta, Kraig Swensrud, SVP of product marketing, told CRM Buyer.

When it becomes generally available, Chatter will be "the de facto collaboration mechanism in our CRM product line and our Force.com product line," Swensrud said. By the end of this year, all of Salesforce's 72,500 customers will have Chatter.

Facebook-Trained User Base

Chatter is Salesforce's alternative to such collaborative software applications as SharePoint and Lotus Notes. It is an internal social networking application that lets companies provide feeds and status updates to employees based on the people, documents and applications they follow in the network.

It is much like Facebook -- which was, in fact, the model the company used when it built Chatter, according to Swensrud.

Most people have some familiarity with the social networking app, and that is helping to drive demand for Salesforce's enterprise version, he said.

"Facebook has already trained our user base," he remarked.

The application comes equipped with typical features in a social networking app, including feeds, status updates, custom app updates, profiles, and content sharing. It also has a set of prebuilt social components that can be used to create new collaboration apps or enhance existing apps on the Force.com platform.

Some tweaks have been made since the app was first announced, primarily in response to input from the initial beta testers, Swensrud said.

For example, users wanted a better way to search the feed for important information they might have missed, and that feature is being developed now, he said.

New Era

There will be huge demand for the application -- especially as more apps become available, predicted ThinkStrategies Managing Director Jeff Kaplan.

"Having the functionality and format of Facebook -- an application that we are all so familiar with -- in the enterprise environment is going to change the way people perceive applications and how they can be used," Kaplan told CRM Buyer.

For example, a Saleforce.com staffer mentioned on Chatter that he would be traveling to Austin and "immediately received a series of emails from local people in Austin and other people in the company that knew of certain situations or leads or prospects that this person might want to follow," noted Kaplan. "The only way that might have happened in the past was with an email blast, which would not have been appropriate."

Even better, these types of back-and-forth exchanges are incorporated into the application's tracking mechanism so leads can be integrated at some level.

Because it consolidates this type of data into a single app, concluded Kaplan, Chatter will be a game-changer.

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