The archetypal software as a service company Salesforce.com has branched out in a number of directions – SaaS-based services, cloud data storage and a broad-ranging applications platform among them – but one of the leading topics of conversation at the Cloudforce conference in Sydney two weeks ago was Chatter, the company’s collaboration environment.
Released last June, and now available free of charge in its basic form, Chatter aims to combine the social-networking environment with corporate information management.
Ken Holley, head of technology for NZ Post’s Localist business directory and news service, says the company’s use of Chatter ensures communication lines stay open for the company’s staff and allows them to access applications, update data and funnel requests for staff follow-up and that are recorded and acted on, he says.
Localist’s use of other Salesforce.com applications, Holley says, was a big factor in its selection of Chatter over head-on rival Yammer,
“Here’s a prospective account who’s looking for a reference,” says Salesforce marketing director Kris Mueller, demonstrating Chatter at the conference. “Suppose I am trying to cross-sell some product,” says Mueller. “I can use Chatter to communicate with a dashboard, see which of my colleagues is selling that product well and get advice from them.”
At the Salesforce conference Brian Northern, local information technology and services manager for civil engineer Fulton Hogan, spoke about using Chatter in conjunction with other salesforce.com cloud tools to check on deposits of “cleanfill” – spoil left with consent on a worksite. The combination of mobile devices and Chatter with records of the sites means anyone can file a report.