San Francisco-based Salesforce.com is taking its business social software Chatter and is allowing customers to create externally-focused networks in a new product called Salesforce Communities, the firm announced yesterday.
Salesforce Communities will allow businesses to create private social communities on their Web sites. By using Salesforce’s Site.com to create custom-branded sites that include these social networks, a firm could set up a way to communicate with its customers, partners, or other groups. Site.com is a spin-off of Saleforce’s acquisition of Vancouver-based Sitemasher, which offered a cloud based content management system, in June 2010.
Site.com and Salesforce communities will work in tandem, says Dave King, a senior director of Salesforce Chatter. While the products will be available separately to customers, they are designed to work together.
“Companies today no longer operate in a vacuum, they have to be totally connected to their customers and their partners,” he says. “This takes the power of Chatter and what we’ve done inside companies and we’ve extended that externally to their customers and partners.”
In addition to Sitemasher’s Web design features and Chatter’s social capabilities, the new product will also tie in directly to Salesforce.com’s core business process management and customer relationship management (CRM) Web-based software. So a customer’s question could not only be addressed by an employee, but that employee could then create a service item to track the request and assign the right people to get the job done.
Sitemasher’s Web site building, management and optimization product was targeted at the small to medium-sized business market. Salesforce Communities will be targeted at SMBs and enterprises alike.
A limited pilot of Salesforce Communities will be available this fall. A target of the second half of 2013 has been set to make the product generally available, and pricing will be announced then.