Salesforce Launches Community-Building Service

Salesforce.com has rolled out a service for its customers that allows them to share data, sources and leads in a social network. The Salesforce to Salesforce service, which the company is not making available commercially, is a cross between a partner relationship management portal — which Salesforce.com offers commercially — and the consumer-to-consumer social networking sites such as Facebook.

Indeed, the firm, which has been proactive in forming ties with Facebook and Google, likens its latest offering to these Web 2.0 giants.

“Just as Facebook is revolutionizing how individuals connect, Salesforce to Salesforce is revolutionizing how companies connect and share business information,” stated George Hu, executive vice president, products and marketing for Salesforce.

Use Case

Salesforce envisions its customers using the network to share data, leads and custom objects. Users can also map data and processes by subscribing to field and record updates, it noted. Also, with the the update feature, users can keep records in sync with cross-company history tracking, reporting and workflow rules, it said.

One of the primary use cases is with resellers and partners, Will Moxley, Salesforce.com product manager told CRM Buyer. There are, however, a number of possible uses.

“It will be a great tool for recruiting, for example,” he said. “It is just as easy to share resumes as it is leads and opportunities.”

Certainly companies will use it as a de facto integration tool. Early adopter DoubleClick, for instance, is using it to integrate data with its partners.

“Being able to set up and share business information in real time with other companies is an incredible leap forward for B2B (business-to-business) collaboration,” stated Nicole Widder, a sales operations officer at DoubleClick.

Force.com in Action

The company built Salesforce to Salesforce using Force.com, its recently released Platform as a Service product that allows developers to build any Software as a Service application. Like its original CRM app, Force.com’s allure is in its multi-tenancy: The infrastructure allows for greater scale, easy connections and integration and low deployment costs. A single tenant deployment, including client-server software by contrast, would require custom coding and maintenance.

A Million Subscribers

Salesforce to Salesforce can be expected to quickly develop into a potent networking tool, given Salesforce.com’s presence in the market — this month, it expects to surpass 1 million paying subscriptions.

The company is on a tear, noted CEO Marc Benioff — and not for the first time.

“It took seven years to reach the first 500,000 paying subscribers, and only another 16 months for the second 500,000,” he said.

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