Salesforce.com entered the social collaboration software market in June 2010 with the launch of Salesforce Chatter. Today there are 225,000 active Chatter networks, and salesforce.com has since added two new products to its social collaboration portfolio: an application of the Chatter technology to support external communities called Salesforce Communities, and social performance management tool Salesforce Work.com.
A cohesive and convincing social collaboration strategy
As the Chatter offering has become established and gained traction in the market, and the company has begun to extend its focus beyond internal collaboration into externally-facing business use cases, salesforce.com’s social collaboration story has gained weight and conviction as part of the vendor’s broader positioning and strategy. With the inclusion of Work.com adding a performance management angle, the company is increasingly demonstrating its understanding of this opportunity and how it fits with the wider CRM offering.
An extended range of use cases to support social collaboration, but still lacking support for some internal use cases
A cohesive and convincing social collaboration strategy The introduction of Salesforce Communities to support collaboration and engagement with customers and partners is a logical progression for salesforce.com given its customer-centric corporate positioning and strategy; but the range of internal use cases for Chatter is still limited, with little attention to requirements for project-based collaboration, for example.
Missing opportunities with social analytics
Though the company has made some promising acquisitions in this area, the product’s social analytics capabilities remain disappointing, particularly in the context of aiding the user experience, for example helping individuals to better manage the volume of information they receive, as well as to support community management. With some competitors investing heavily in this area, and organisations starting to recognise this as a key way to not just measure value but drive adoption, salesforce.com will need to work quickly and strategically here to avoid being left behind.
Limited business case for non-existing customers
With Chatter provided free of charge to existing customers as a feature embedded in its Sales, Service and Marketing Cloud applications as well as any Platform licence, it’s an easy decision if you are looking for ways to improve collaboration. For organisations that are not existing customers, however, Salesforce Chatter’s points of differentiation are much less clear. If Chatter is to significantly grow salesforce.com’s customer base, rather than simply extend its reach in its existing customer base, this is something the company will need to address.
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