Because it’s much easier to sell a new product or service to an existing customer than it is to a new one, almost every organization has been trying to create some kind of online community around their Web presence, often with mixed results.
To make building a community around a particular base of customers easier, Salesforce created a Community Cloud that makes it possible to create an online community using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application. Today Salesforce announced it is now making available a Lightning Bolt framework that lets organizations build custom applications on top of Salesforce Community Cloud.
Previously, Salesforce had been providing customizable templates. With the arrival of Lightning Bolt, Mike Micucci, senior vice president and general manager for Salesforce Community Cloud, says Salesforce is making it possible for organizations to build their own applications.
“Prior to this, the only company that could build an application for Community Cloud was Salesforce,” says Micucci.
At the time of launch, Salesforce has recruited 10 companies that have developed applications for Salesforce Community Cloud. In fact, Micucci says about half the applications developed for Salesforce Community Cloud will come from third-party partners.
Whether all that development work leads to more vibrant online communities remains to be seen. But given the moribund state of most online communities tied to a company website, more engaging custom applications can only help.