After attending CloudForce conference in San Francisco last week it started to become apparent that Salesforce.com’s strategy around the Social Enterprise might be real after all.I have to admit that the first time that I heard about Chatter and the Social Enterprise, I was skeptical, but now that more than two years have gone by, I am starting to believe that this could be a major shift in the SaaS market.
There have been a number of big players emerging out of the social software market over the last five years including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or and even Yammer.It is clear that enterprise collaboration has also been around for a long time with content management and search products but none of these companies have really changed the enterprise software landscape.
At the CloudForce event, Marc Benioff, the CEO at Salesforce.com was able to let his customers and management provide context and examples of the Social Enterprise vision.I have always found it is much more credible to hear from customers and what they are doing with their SaaS solutions than having the ISV tell the audience why it is the next big thing.Here were a few of the customers who are using Salesforce.com’s social SaaS solutions to connect and extend their organizations:
- NBC/Universal.They are using Salesforce.com’s products to deliver a single, integrated view of their organization, across the many different operating units that make up the company. This type of near real-time integration is new for the NBC management and employees.NBC has deployed iPads across their organization and the Salesforce products are used to improve collaboration and even develop new revenue streams across business units. Watch this Video Case Study.
- Burberry.Most people think of Burberry as the raincoat company but they are a global fashion brand.Angela Ahrendts Burberry’s CEO is fully committed to a vision that transforms their company into a fully digital enterprise.This means that their customer will have total access to their brand anytime, anywhere.As she said in this short videoabout the company, “Companies need to be totally connected to their digital brands, otherwise what will your business become in the next five years?”John Douglas, Burberry’s CTO was at the event and explained that they are putting everything about their brand online and connecting all of their 4,500 employees worldwide using Chatter.They have 650 groups across their company and have taken about 6 months to roll-out the Chatter product to enable management and teams to share results, press coverage and even digital assets.
Like several other companies who shared their Social Enterprise experiences at this event, Burberry uses SAP for their back-office services and Salesforce.com for their front-office functions.As Burberry continues their Social Enterprise rollout in 2012, the next couple of phases are to connect with their vendors and then ultimately with their customers.
- Kimberley-Clark.Most people know this 140-year-old company as the firm that produces Kleenex, Scott towels and Huggies.An older, iconic brand in the market. The company’s CIO Ramon Baez discussed how they are transforming their company into a Social Enterprise that is using Salesforce.com to listen to their customers and unleash new customer-facing capabilities.They are using Radian6 to monitor what is being said about the company and their brands.Their product teams are coming up with new ideas and are better engaging with their customers because they have this social market data.As Mr. Baez explained, Social is not about fun and games, it is all about business and winning. Here’s another interesting video case study.One big challenge for Kimberly-Clark is how do they inspire their customers in less than 2 minutes and get them to engage around their products? There was a very innovative Force.com application, that demonstrated how a Kimberly-Clark sales rep using an iPad, can hand their customer what looked like a dirty screen to clean off.The customer would then use their fingers to swipe and clean the screen and then they take a short quiz that would suggest various Kimberly-Clark product solutions for them based on their answers.If they were interested in any of the solutions, a proposal is auto-generated for their review and they can buy it by just signing the proposal with their finger.This entire interaction might take less than 10 minutes.For Kimberly-Clark sales reps this is moving at light speed compared to what they had been doing for the last 140 years.What Mr. Baez demonstrated is that they want to deploy technology that their workforce really wants to use, and that is not being forced to use.He said that their existing sales teams were very comfortable to doing things their old way but once they gave them an iPad with these Social Enterprise capabilities they embraced them, and it has really changed their mindset and their culture.
Kimberly-Clark is also a very happy SAP customer and has connected their many Salesforce SaaS products using IBM’s Cast Iron Cloud-based integration solution.
- UCSF Medical Center. Dr. Michael Blum the CIO at UCSF discussed how the Social Enterprise philosophy is being used in a medical context.He shared that in reality patients are also customers and as a doctor the challenge is how can you best engage with them?This requires major change in the doctor-patient relationship.It means that doctors will have to change their interactions from a once-a-year, 3 minute discussion, to a trusted, on-going relationship.UCSF is now experimenting with Chatter as way to securely connect doctors, nurses and patients.This is helping the doctors to work with their patients to get more of their data into the hospital’s systems, which are important to improve patient outcomes as well as to aid in clinical research.
- Toyota.This was the last customer discussed and they shared how Toyota is building the Social Enterprise approach to their products, and it has even created it’s own social network called Toyota Friend.This was an interesting example of how Toyota is using Force.com to create a personalized social product. There is more information about Toyota Friend in this Video.
As Salesforce continues to rollout not only traditional Business-to-Business SaaS solutions they are also working with their customers they are also working with to deliver Business-to-Consumer capabilities through products like Radian6, Heroku and Sites.Many of the executives from many of their acquired companies stood up and discussed how they are building their products for Salesforce.com with the Social Enterprise in mind. Marcel Lebrun, CEO at Radian6 discussed how customers are embracing and using social technology to delivery competitive advantage in markets like the Consumer Packaged Goods industry.
The Social Enterprise is also being extended to employees not only through Chatter but now through Salesforce’s recent acquisition of Rypple for HR Performance Management.They are deploying a new type of performance offering, that leverages some new gamification techniques to try and get higher levels of user adoption inside the enterprise.They have also announced an important hire of John Wookey, an industry heavy weight who built products at both Oracle and SAP.Mr. Wookey will now run the HR Cloud business for Salesforce.com.
At the end of CloudForce, it was obvious that Salesforce has a wide array of Social Enterprise solutions and their customers are leading this new SaaS revolution.