The Social Phenom That Was This Year's Dreamforce
"Social enterprises have the ability to transform their business by connecting employees and customers through the social, mobile and open cloud technologies," said Fergus Griffin, VP of product marketing at Salesforce.com. "Companies are awakening to the reality that it's no longer possible to operate standing on the sidelines of this revolution."
At the biggest Salesforce.com event to date, Dreamforce '11, vendors had ample opportunities to strut their stuff. In fact, more than 46,000 people -- many of them very socially engaged -- registered this year.
"In less than a decade, Dreamforce has become the largest conference in the enterprise software industry," Fergus Griffin, vice president of product marketing for Salesforce.com, told CRM Buyer. Salesforce.com's own product and capabilities announcements -- Touch.salesforce.com, enhancements to Chatter and Data.com -- took center stage.
"The sheer size of the event has grown nearly 50 percent year-over-year and it was clear that interest in how to transform into a social enterprise using social, mobile and open cloud technologies is accelerating," said Griffin.
Socializing Marketing Automation
"This was our fourth year, and I'd say we had more booth traffic in the first four hours than we had in four days last year," Adam Blitzer, cofounder and COO at Pardot, told CRM Buyer. "And in almost all cases, one of the first questions when people came up was what we were doing around social networking."
Pardot was among a good number of the 300-plus vendors that had an answer for them. It announced an upgrade to its cloud marketing automation software to help marketers make better use of social media tools. New features include automated access to sales prospect social-media profile data and postings from within the Pardot system, as well as the ability to schedule and send social media messages to prospects from its platform.
"These latest pieces definitely show our commitment to social. Now users can add to their offline, online, Web/third-party sites, email -- and search all the powerful social channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn," Blitzer said.
SMS as a Service Channel
M5 Networks took the opportunity to announce a new partnership effort with Bluewolf, an agile business consulting firm, to bring SMS messaging into the Salesforce.com picture. M5 Business SMS for Salesforce allows M5 users to send and receive text messages directly from their business phone number and integrate SMS (short message service) messages directly into their Salesforce.com CRM software. This in effect turns SMS messaging into an additional measurable service channel.
"It's clear that Salesforce.com is not just a front-office solution anymore," said Brent Barbara, vice president of client solutions and alliances for M5 Networks.
"It has shifted dramatically from Salesforce automation to service automation in the cloud. It's all about shrinking time to resolution. In some cases, it can be done even faster than phone calls," he pointed out.
"The social enterprise is Salesforce.com's vision for the next generation of enterprise cloud computing," Salesforce.com's Griffin said. "Social enterprises have the ability to transform their business by connecting employees and customers through the social, mobile and open cloud technologies. Companies are awakening to the reality that it's no longer possible to operate standing on the sidelines of this revolution."
Pushing the Snail Mail, Fan Mail Envelopes
Ricoh Company and Zumbox, a provider of digital postal mail services, recently announced an alliance that allows mailers to provide their customers with a digital option via Zumbox. Ricoh reported that digital mail can reduce per-piece costs by more than 50 percent, while providing a user-friendly, bidirectional means of communicating with their customers to build deeper relationships, shorter time-to-payment, and the ability to increase overall sustainability of the mail operation.
eGain, a provider of cloud and on-site customer interaction software for sales and service, recently introduced eGain Offers for Facebook.
With this new addition to the eGain Interactive Sales Suite, businesses can extend their interactive Web sales and service capabilities to their Facebook pages to present proactive, targeted offers to customers in their preferred browsing place.
These might include coupons, promotions, surveys and personalized content, as well as contextual help in the form of FAQs or chatbot, chat, click-to-call and cobrowse options. Deployment simply requires adding a tag to the website code.
Mobile Credential Management
Echoworx, a provider of credential management and managed encryption services for email and data protection, has just announced an endpoint encryption solution for iOS.
In addition to allowing users to send and receive encrypted emails, mobilEncrypt Endpoint allows IT managers to centrally manage their partners or sales force by assigning user credentials directly to their mobile devices. If a device should get lost or stolen, enterprise IT managers can simply revoke or suspend credentials from a central location.
"Whether you're talking about LinkedIn, Salesforce or the business versions of Facebook, the ability to consolidate profiles in a single place is a great development," said Robby Gulri, vice president of product for Echoworx.
"At the same time, when working with a distributed workforce using mobile devices, enterprises want to make sure the person accessing this content is authorized to do it. By issuing a certificate on the device itself that verifies the user, you've solved that problem."
The new application will be available through the iTunes store at the end of this month. Echoworx has already launched the BlackBerry version of mobilEncrypt Endpoint, and it plans to introduce an Android offering next month.