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Salesforce Launches Social Services at Dreamforce

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Posted September 20, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

Salesforce introduced a variety of new services, most with a strongly social slant, at its Dreamforce event.

Despite an abandoned attempt to trademark the term, Salesforce is not slowing down in its quest to become synonymous with "social enterprise."

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is not shy about taking big, bold steps to push his company's social enterprise vision. Nowhere is it more evident than at its Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, where Salesforce unveiled a flood of new offerings and product updates that promise to affect nearly every corner of its cloud ecosystem.

Among its "sexiest" announcements, the company launched the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Powered by technology from past acquisitions Buddy Media and Radian6, Marketing Cloud centralizes formerly standalone functionality into a unified platform for more coordinated social marketing efforts.

According to Salesforce, Marketing Cloud will provide real-time social monitoring from over 400 million social sources, including popular networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The offering also features automated social workflow management, campaign ROI analytics and posting tools that enable coordination and brand consistency as organizations embark on social engagement across different channels.

Salesforce integrated technology from another acquisition, social performance management provider Rypple, into its Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Chatter, to create a service called Work.com. The idea is to use social incentives to help companies motivate employees and improve performance. Slated for release by the end of the year, the service is already being used by Facebook, LinkedIn and Spotify, among other companies.

Though it was billed as a "Facebook-like identity for the enterprise," Salesforce Identity has a more utilitarian appeal. The company says Salesforce Identity will relieve users from juggling multiple log-ins and identities, while easing complexity for administrators by offering centralized identity and access management. It will also give apps across multiple platforms the ability to push updates to a user's Chatter feed.

Salesforce is also tackling cloud storage, an even less sexy facet of modern day productivity. Its Chatterbox is a file sharing and storage tool that puts the company on a collision course with other big cloud storage services including Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft's Skydrive.

As is the norm, Chatterbox will offer file sharing and mobile file access. It will also have real-time collaboration features and Chatter hooks that push file notifications to a users' activity feeds. Salesforce is planning to launch a Chatterbox pilot during the first half of 2013.

It remains to be seen whether enterprises will go for the new services introduced at Dreamforce. Financial analysts seemed to welcome all of the announcements, with Credit Agricole and Zacks  boosting their ratings of Salesforce shares and other financial firms maintaining their positive guidance.

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

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