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Salesforce Pumps up Chatter's Enterprise Collaboration Capabilities

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Posted May 22, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback wants to help social enterprises get chatty and show-offish by rolling out instant messaging features in June, followed by screensharing capabilities in the third quarter.

Salesforce is adding real-time chat and screensharing functionality to its Chatter platform with offerings called, fittingly enough, Chatter Messenger and Chatter Screensharing.

The news arrives just days after the Salesforce announced impressive first quarter fiscal 2013 results. The cloud CRM specialist generated $695 million in revenue, a 38 percent year-over-year increase. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff credits such growth, in part, to his company's social enterprise vision. Today the company revealed the latest direction its social enterprise strategy is taking to turn that rosy forecast into a reality

Salesforce is rolling familiar communication tools and advanced collaboration technologies into Chatter, according to Kendall Collins, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce Chatter. "Chatter Messenger and Screensharing deliver Skype-like real-time technologies directly in the Salesforce Chatter feed -- empowering companies to run their entire business on one trusted platform," says Collins in a company statement.

Salesforce Wants to Boost IM’s Image

Chat programs are often considered a time-wasting distraction in the workplace, or worse, a security risk. With Chatter Messenger, Salesforce aims to turn real-time messaging into a secure, productivity-enhancing activity.

With no software clients to download, Salesforce's cloud-based messaging platform is one less security headache for IT managers, argues the company. Moreover, the arduous task of wrangling online identities to build buddy lists is a thing of the past since Chatter Messenger can automatically pull identities from an employee's social graph into a chat roster.

When Chatter Messenger rolls out in June, it will support individual and group chats. Users can employ built-in presence options to connect and chat with colleagues as soon as they log into their Salesforce accounts. Top and frequently “pinged” contacts can be organized into a “My Favorites” list of up to 100 users or groups.

Combined with the Chatter activity stream that underpins Salesforce's collaboration and social alerting features, Chatter Messenger "eliminates islands of collaboration," providing focused, in-context communication that adds efficiency to any business process, says the company.

Another selling point: it's free to Salesforce and customers.

My Screen is Your Screen

Sometimes, words -- whether spoken or typed -- just can't get the point across. So Salesforce is adding Chatter Screensharing to the mix.

As its name implies, Chatter Screensharing will add WebEx-like screen broadcasting to chat sessions. This allows Salesforce users to run meetings, presentations or training sessions with visuals that mirror the host's computer screen appearing on each participant's screen.

Salesforce plans to make a limited pilot of Chatter Screensharing available during the third quarter.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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