News Analysis: Salesforce.com Announces Private Beta Of Chatter

Published on February 17, 2010 by R "Ray" Wang

Chatter Represents SFDC’s Unified Move Into Social

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Announced at the 2009 Dreamforce conference, Chatter represents both a collaboration application and platform.  Software built on the Force.com platform will gain the collaboration capabilities.   Solutions in AppExchange will be able to use profiles, real time streams, and other API’s.   With a 100 customers testing out user experience, scalability, and security, Salesforce.com, moves from vaporware to beta.   Some key features include:

  • Aggregating streams of information. Employees can subscribe to feeds such as internal updates, social networks, and documents.
  • Automating status updates. Users can receive updates from system and user generated alerts.  Alerts can include documents and related links.
  • Enabling secure document sharing. Chatter feeds can be searched to find relevant information.  Document sharing is protected by a secure sharing model from the Force.com platform.

The Bottom Line For Customers – Chatter Represents A First Step Towards Social CRM

Customers seek solutions that bridge the gap between Enterprise 2.0 collaboration with enterprise applications.  Investment in solutions like Chatter fit well with Salesforce.com’s existing list of innovative customers.   Many require more in-depth social capabilities.  Should Chatter be delivered in 2010, customers will win by being able to minimize the number of SaaS platforms,  reduce the related costs of vendor management, and take a first step into Social CRM.

The Bottom Line For Vendors – Chatter Beta Buys Salesforce.com Time To Fend Of Best of Breed Competitors.

Learning from the lessons of Siebel, Marc Benioff does not intend for SalesForce.com to be a one trick pony.  Force.com represented a step to build an ecosystem and extend beyond CRM.  Success in AppExchange proves out the strength of the ecosystem. With Chatter, Salesforce.com establishes a second foothold into the world of Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0.  The pre-announcing in November bought Salesforce.com time to fend off best of  breed collaboration solutions and emerging Social CRM vendors.  Announcing a private beta with 100 customers, not only shows momentum, but also gives Salesforce.com time to prove out the solution.  In any case, they SaaS leader buys time and can keep some of the best of breed solutions temporarily out of its accounts.

Your POV

Are you a Salesforce.com customer?  How will you use chatter?  When do you plan to deploy.  Let us know if you need help with:

  • Building a multi-vendor SaaS strategy
  • Negotiating your Salesforce.com contract
  • Crafting a SaaS integration strategy

Please post or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Related resources and links

20100125 Monday’s Musings: The Hidden Value in SaaS Deployments

20091222 Tuesday’s Tip: 10 Cloud and SaaS Apps Strategies For 2010

20091012 Research Report: Customer Bill of Rights – Software-as-a Service

20090602 Tuesday’s Tip: Now’s The Time To Consider SaaS Software Escrows

20081028 Tuesday’s Tip: SaaS – Integration Advice

20090714 Sandhill.com – R ‘Ray’ Wang – “Opinion: Moving to a SaaS Offensive”

20070903 Trends: What’s all the fuss about True SaaS, OnDemand, Hosting?

20091208 Tuesday’s Tip: 2010 Apps Strategies Should Start With Business Value

20091109 Monday’s Musings: SaaS, SOA, Integration and How To Make A Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich In The Cloud

Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • Ray, thanks for the reply – and of course you’re right. It’s interesting to watch as SFDC builds out beyond simple CRM, and I guess their recent cash raise might point to more acquisitions to follow on the GroupSwim one they used for Chatter.

    I don’t want use this forum for self-promo, but I’d like to send you a link to a short video that might further inform your thinking on the future of SaaS and (in my opinion) some likely disruption. Please email me if that’s appropriate.

  • Donal, great points! I think SFDC decided a long time ago, that things their core team can’t get to, the partners who built on force.com would get to. It’s a laissez faire approach to partner ecosystems, but for the time being it’s helped put companies like yours on the map. That’s the good news. The bad news – once SFDC figures out what they want to own next and if it’s in your space, well, then you’ll have to have that talk. They’ll be fair about it, they may even have you lead the efforts. Take a look at CODA and FinancialForce. Basically SFDC has invested in CODA to build the financial model out. The same may happen next for forecasting and of course intelligence!

  • salesforce has done a great job in re-inventing CRM and pioneering SaaS, and Chatter represents another look forward.

    However, is there a risk in going wide before fixing some of the existing shortcomings? By that I mean, particularly for the sales person, it’s still seen as not adding a ton of value. Intelligence could be added for sales processes, and sales forecasting accuracy is still not where it should be. If you look in most salesforce deployments today – you will still see deals that are forecasted to close in the past – and really, that’s an easy problem for salesforce to solve by adding some smarts.

    Full Disclosure: My company is in the business of Sales Performance Automation that seeks to address these problems for curomers of companies like SFDC, Oracle, MSFT etc.

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