Salesforce has updated and rebranded its Communities product, now known as Salesforce1 Community Cloud. This extends the functionality of communities, and sharpens the competition with other enterprise social network vendors, like IBM, Jive, Microsoft, and SAP.
However, in its positioning, Salesforce compares the customer and partner communities with Linkedin. I recall that Yammer launched as ‘Twitter for business’. There is an echo here of that: a Linkedin for your business.
Community Cloud is geared towards three sorts of communities:
- customer community — marketing and support use cases
- partner community — partner and channel management
- employee community — social intranets, including mobile clients.
And in all communities, there are a broad spectrum of capabilities, such as business process integration, knowledge base creation, ideation, and Chatter-based collaboration. Commenting on the modular nature of the implementation, Cathy Benko, vice chairman and managing principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP, said
The Community Cloud represents an important moment in the industry, ushering in new lattice-like business models for how people work, how they engage their customers, and how they connect.
I think the lattice metaphor is helpful, and may in fact be the best way to characterize the intersections and overlaps in the three kinds of communities. I recently interviewed Celine Schillinger, and she left me with a cogent line: Social is the new normal. The Salesforce1 Community Cloud is the proof of that saying, simply by focusing on connection, mobility, and ease-of-use –and without stressing the ‘S’ word — they are rolling out a highly competitive work management platform: one that aspires to become the best of breed enterprise social networking platform.
Some examples of how companies are using the product:
- Home Depot created a community for customers working on home improvement, but also enabled a employee community linking its 2,200 stores.
- Deloitte Digital, the digital agency within Deloitte, is lining up 4,000 consultants and teaming with Salesforce to help companies apply Salesforce1 Community Cloud in their businesses.
- Other companies using the product include British Sky Broadcasting, Cornell University, GE Capital, Honeywell, Key Bank, Pearson, Pono Music, State of Colorado, Tata Communications and Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Salesforce is obviously differentiating itself based on the close integration with Salesforce CRM offerings, and the ecosystem of apps integrated with that infrastructure.