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Salesforce.com Rolls Out Social-Networking-Like Tools

The "Salesforce to Salesforce" on-demand services are built on Salesforce.com's multi-tenant architecture and Force.com platform.
Salesforce.com is bringing social networking capabilities to its CRM services offering, allowing its customers to share data, like sales leads, with their channel and other business partners.

The new "Salesforce to Salesforce" on-demand services enable Salesforce.com customers, like say a car manufacturer, to securely and easily share business information -- such as customer leads or product recalls with its dealers, said a Salesforce.com spokeswoman.

The connection is two-way and scalable, enabling partners to easily collaborate -- so, the car dealers, for instance, can also respond and share information back to the auto manufacturer, or with each other, if they choose, she said.

"This brings the ecosystem of companies in a relationship together," said the spokeswoman.

Computer manufacturer Dell is rolling out Salesforce.com's CRM applications and will use the new Salesforce to Salesforce services to communicate with channel partners, said Greg Davis, Dell VP and general manager of Americas channel group. "It's fair to say this will be vital part of our [new] channel partners program" that Dell is currently unleashing, he said.

The new Salesforce to Salesforce capabilities will enable, for instance, Dell's direct sales force to pass on sales leads to channel partners, and vice versa, so that compensation can be shared, he said. "Well be able collaborate on opportunities," he said.

The new capabilities are built on Salesforce.com's multi-tenant architecture called AppExchange and its Force.com platform. Every Salesforce to Salesforce connection is built on common standards and includes a "once-click pre-built integration" and is completely maintained by salesforce.com, said the company.

The new services sets "a new standard in intra-company communication," said Denis Pombriant, a managing principle director and analyst at Beagle Research. "These are nifty new tools for business people, with a great deal of potential," he said. The tools can also help companies "stay closer, and communicate with customers," he said.

Salesforce to Salesforce is available immediately to all Salesforce.com customers. Enterprise and Unlimited Edition customers will be able to invite companies to share data with Salesforce to Salesforce for an additional fee of $1,200 per year, per connection.

Salesforce.com also announced on Wednesday that it's surpassed 1 million paying subscribers to its services and is marking the milestone with a total of $1 million in donations to 10 non-profit organizations through the Saleforce.com Foundation, philanthropy group.

The 10 recipients of the $100,000 donations include educational, fair-trade, and healthcare organizations, including the Bridge School, which helps children with speech and physical impairments, and also San Francisco General Hospital.