01:14 AM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
Connect Directly
Repost This

SalesForce Summer 08: Community as a Service?

Like just about everyone else, SalesForce is pushing "community" these days. It's latest update -- announced today -- concentrates on sharing content and ideas and letting developers build better user interfaces.

Like just about everyone else, SalesForce is pushing "community" these days. It's latest update -- announced today -- concentrates on sharing content and ideas and letting developers build better user interfaces."Web 2.0." "Enterprise 2.0." "User-Generated Content (UGC)." "Sharing."

These days, it's all about "community," and Salesforce -- which built its business on Software as a Service -- seems to be trying to invent "community as a service."

Al Falcione, Salesforce's senior director of product marketing, says most of the 50 new features Salesforce Summer 08 -- the company's 26th major software update which goes live for all SalesForce customers today -- is all about community. When I talked to Falcione late last week, he explained that the new release is designed to extend the consumer-style community functions in the Salesforce environment out to the partners and customers of Salesforce users.

Specifically, the new release extends the Salesforce Content functionality into the Salesforce Partner Portal and Customer Portal and incorporates Salesforce Ideas into the Partner Portal. Content lets Salesforce users share, tag, rate, and subscribe to everything from articles to Webcasts. Ideas lets partners discuss, vote on, and and share feedback about suggestions. Starbucks, Falcione says, has been using the feature and the results can be seen at My Starbucks Idea.

Or check out this screenshot explaining how French automaker Renault is using the features: salesforce

In addition to the community features, Salesforce rolled out free access to VisualForce, which had been previewed last fall. Running on the platform, VisualForce is a programming-based tool developers can use to create user interfaces for SalesForce programs and custom SalesForce applications. According Falcione, VisualForce can be used to create buttons, tabs, and graphicial user interface elements using including HTML, AJAX and Adobe Flex, but is not itself a GUI tool.

It all sounds like good stuff, if not exactly earth-shattering. After all, it's not like Content, Ideas, or VisualForce are brand-new here, they're just being extended farther into Salesforce's product line. Still, while the update may not be important enough to make smaller companies switch to Salesforce, it's certainly good news for current customers.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government, May 2014
NIST's cyber-security framework gives critical-infrastructure operators a new tool to assess readiness. But will operators put this voluntary framework to work?
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.