Salesforce.com Marshals Unstructured Data With Spring ’08 Release

Salesforce.com has released its Spring ’08 update, building on the Content and Ideas modules that debuted in its Winter ’07 edition and boosting standard customer relationship management functionality.

The primary purpose of the Content and Ideas applications is to give users more tools to manage unstructured data directly in the Salesforce.com application.

Combining the dual data sources “provides a better route for companies to understand their customers,” Scott Holden, manager of product marketing, told CRM Buyer.

Content and Ideas

Salesforce.com Content provides content management, while Salesforce.com Ideas offers a Web 2.0 environment for collaboration in the enterprise.

Content includes such Web 2.0 technologies as tagging, subscriptions and recommendations to help users manage documents and unstructured data directly in the Salesforce application. Ideas provides an internal forum that lets employees and partners submit, discuss and promote new concepts. Among the earliest features in this application are tools to build communities, post ideas and vote on ideas.

The Spring ’08 enhancements to these features are meant to help users better organize the data, explained Al Falcione, senior director of product marketing.

New features for Content include suggested tagging — as opposed to allowing users to label folders as they please — and a tool that highlights key content, such as a new sales presentation. In Ideas, users can better view the ideas drawing most comment from the community.

“What we are doing is adding features that allow the best content, ideas to bubble to the top,” Falcione said.

Specifically, the new additions include

  • Featured Content, which allows authorized users to define and designate materials as “Featured Content”;
  • Suggested Tagging, which allows administrators to recommend a specific set of tags for a workspace;
  • Popular Search Results, which displays and sorts search results using predefined fields;
  • My Ideas Inbox, which gives users the ability to list new comments that have been added to ideas previously posted or ideas commented on by the user;
  • Recently Discussed, a tab that provides access to the community’s latest comments; and
  • Top Ideas, which ranks the top ideas within the community.

CRM Polish

Salesforce.com also made the obligatory updates to its now iconic CRM system.

New in this release:

  • Dashboard Scheduling — a feature that allows authorized users to schedule when dashboards are automatically refreshed and e-mailed to a set of users;
  • Drag-and-Drop Calendaring; and
  • E-mail to Case Workflow, which updates a case’s status automatically using e-mail-triggered workflow.

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