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in the industry debate it, study it and even attend conferences on it. At
salesforce.com, we are realizing it: Real-time enterprise collaboration.

at Dreamforce ‘09, Salesforce Chatter is salesforce.com’s real-time enterprise
collaboration cloud and is in private beta for select customers now. One of
them happens to be salesforce.com, where we use our own products. This gives us
a firsthand user/developer perspective of our own Sales Cloud 2, Service Cloud
2 and custom Force.com apps.

Introduced as salesforce.com’s biggest breakthrough
ever, it is a game changer for the industry and the company. I’ve spent some time
thinking about what that means now that we’ve used it for a few weeks and want
to share some initial thoughts  on
the impact of Chatter internally based on early usage patterns:

  • Transparency of Leadership: It is mind blowing
    to start seeing your leaders, what they value, what they are talking about and
    how they utilize real-time collaboration to communicate their mission
    internally. As an example, anyone in our company can follow Marc Benioff and
    see what he thinks is important, what kind of docs he is reading, what he picks
    up on the internet from day to day. This brings tremendous value to coherent transparency
    within an organization as well as making him an accessible leader. Similarly,
    responsive and transparent leaders have a tremendous impact to mold the vision
    of an enterprise. This new kind of thinking has potential to make an
    organization more cohesive.

  • Cloud Sourcing Feedback: Colleagues are now posting
    documents they are working on to solicit feedback on their status updates. No
    email attachments or wasteful document replication is needed. This kind of feedback loop
    is more ad hoc and facilitates response within the enterprise from a larger set
    of people. I learned about new docs, apps, and things in the pipeline in this
    manner and had the chance to give feedback
  • Cloud Sourcing Competitive Data: Given the
    vastness of the web, it is impossible for a certain set of individuals to keep
    track of all aspects of competition/be aware of external responses to messages
    generated by an organization. However, Chatter allows collecting this kind of
    information collectively via comments on status updates and feeds.

  • Creating Expertise Centers, Trust and Community:
    For many departments, what they do and how they relate to each other is more
    visible than ever with Chatter. For example, with Chatter profiles and status
    updates, I can now collaborate with the product management folks on a real-time
    basis and know whom to go to for questions to get relevant answers. Many
    enterprises spend a lot of energy trying to anticipate and model such a system
    to find out their leaders, solutions, roles, which cannot be formulated in an
    organizational tool or may require tedious updates to strict structures by
    their users in filling forms. Instead, Chatter provides a tremendous
    opportunity to harvest the evolving expertise in the enterprise that augments
    its reporting structure directly documented in the Chatter feeds. What’s more, the
    folks in salesforce.com are more human than ever. Life and work is about
    relationships and knowing people better. Chatter enables us, as a diverse and
    geographically dispersed set of people, to improve how we communicate in
    real-time to improve teamwork and foster an agile environment.

These are examples and observations within the first couple of weeks since we
started using Chatter internally! I cannot wait to build more apps that use the
social features of Chatter and discover what’s possible with real-time
enterprise collaboration. Until then, stay tuned to this space, the developer
evangelist team will be sharing more about Chatter with the community.

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