Salesforce CEO: Chatter will meet your collaboration needs

SaaS firm reiterates it wants application to be 'Facebook for the enterprise'

Salesforce.com's soon-to-be-launched Chatter application will help firms meet their collaboration needs, and is aimed at becoming the "Facebook for the enterprise", according to chief executive Marc Benioff.

Speaking today at the company's Cloud Force event in London, Benioff said Chatter enabled businesses to tackle the demands from people wanting to collaborate better and expecting Web 2.0 functions.

Chatter, due to be released next year, is a platform for collaboration that closely resembles both Twitter and Facebook. It has Web 2.0 features including live status updates, targeted groups, event scheduling and task scheduling, but all within what is promised to be enterprise-level security and business functionality.

"We do CRM [customer relationship management] for the enterprise, but things are changing," Benioff said. "Chatter is a very powerful idea in enterprise computing. We'd like to think we're getting towards a new CRM: collaboration relationship management."

Salesforce was making the changes to take advantage of the attitude shift amongst employees brought by Facebook and Twitter, Benioff said. "You're going to be using them instead of Microsoft SharePoint, Outlook, and Lotus Notes."

"The feed keeps you in touch with the business, and gives you the ability to know the latest events now," he said. "And there is the real privacy and security you need."

The system integrates with Oracle and SAP platforms, and a range of other applications, to provide live status updates on business developments, according to how companies set it up.

Benioff said Chatter, rather than being limited to sales people, was Salesforce's "first enterprise-wide app". It can be used by "marketing, service, finance, maintenance, human resources, operations, and IT".

The basic version will be included in other Salesforce platforms, and a richer edition with more features will be sold as a £34 subscription per user, per month. More details will follow next year before it is launched.

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