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Doug Henschen
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Salesforce Announces Social Savvy Service Upgrade

CEO Marc Benioff introduces a Facebook tool and social-network tracking capabilities as part of Service Cloud 3.

The news at today's Cloudforce 2011 event in New York was the debut of Service Cloud 3. Otherwise, CEO Marc Benioff's message was much the same as the one he delivered at Cloudforce 2010.

The short version is this: the world is moving from software to services, from e-mail to social networks, and from PCs to mobile devices. is the embodiment of cloud computing and it can help you make the leap on all these dramatic transformations of enterprise technology.

Even if the company's message is much the same, has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. At this point in 2010 the company had 75,000 customers but that number recently surpassed 92,000. Last year the company was on track for $1 billion in revenue and this year it's expecting $2 billion.

The headline at Cloudforce 2010 was the pending release of the Chatter. The embedded collaboration application has since become the company's most successful product launch to date, according to Benioff, and more than 80,000 customers are said to be using the product.

Today's event bore witness to the company's growth. Last year, 1,300 people packed into a too-small hotel ballroom. This year's event was scaled up to New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, and approximately 2,500 people were on hand to see Benioff, his top lieutenants and several customers talk cloud computing and share some news.

Service Cloud 3 -- the news part -- delivers on several capabilities Salesforce has been talking about for a while. For example, Salesforce has been extolling the virtues of Facebook for at least two years, but in late March or early April, it will release Salesforce for Facebook, an integration that will enable companies to bring their Facebook presences and comments from followers into Service Cloud 3. There, service agents will be able to determine the most important comments and turn them into service cases and escalate as necessary.

How do you know which comments are most important? Significantly, the new app can filter comments based on the influence (meaning number of followers) a given Facebook member has. And using's Jigsaw data-cleansing and data-matching capabilities, which taps a 1.4-million-member contact database, the new app can also tie Facebook handles to actual customer records, so you can see if comments are being made by important customers (even if they are Facebook newbies with few followers). This provides yet another way to filter Facebook comments and put important customer-service cases on the front burner.

When agents reply to customers, working from within the Service Cloud, their responses are injected back into the Facebook social network while also becoming part of the official service record.

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