While almost every IT leader would say that enhancing collaboration across the organization is a strategic IT goal, a lot of the collaboration applications deployed don’t wind up being widely used. The reasons for this are varied, but the one that stands out in most organizations is that the collaboration application usually isn’t tied to a specific business process. Many IT organizations wind up wasting time and money deploying applications ranging from corporate intranets to social networking that become little more than efforts at collaboration for collaboration’s sake rather than the achievement of a specific business goal.
Looking to change that flawed dynamic across the enterprise, Salesforce.com today unfurled Salesforce Company Communities, which gives customers access to a social networking application running on top of the Force.com cloud computing platform that is designed to make it simpler to build ad hoc communities around specific business processes.
According to Jim Sinai, platform product marketing manager for Salesforce Company Communities, the basic idea is to provide organizations with a modern intranet in the cloud that replaces a raft of static on-premise applications that fail to foster any sense of collaboration.
In contrast, Sinai says that Salesforce Company Communities applications are not only more engaging, they were designed from the ground up to support mobile computing devices, which means they can be easily accessed anytime from almost anywhere an end user can find a connection.
Sinai says the primary application for Salesforce Company Communities will be the building of knowledge bases around specific products and services that employees can easily build and participate in to better serve customers. The goal is to make it easier for any employee to leverage the institutional knowledge of the organization via a cloud application that is always available, says Sinai.
Enterprise IT organizations have had a difficult time making social networking applications stick because they have been either too prescriptive or simply became another communications silo within the organization. By making Salesforce Company Communities an extension of the Salesforce.com customer relationship management (CRM) and Chatter social networking applications, Salesforce is hoping to avoid those traps by essentially modernizing archaic intranet applications in way that more naturally fits the way the business truly operates.