Salesforce.com's Benioff fine-tunes social enterprise, revolution rhetoric

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff argues that the social revolution is a "trust revolution."

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Credit: James Martin, CNET

SAN FRANCISCO -- The common rhetoric from Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff typically revolves around how social has spawned revolutions of all kinds worldwide and that the social enterprise is the future of business.

Those themes were once again on display at Benioff's keynote address at Dreamforce '12 on Wednesday morning.

While the social enterprise was the focus of the CRM giant's conference last year, a recent Bluewolf survey about the state of Salesforce.com found that many Salesforce customers are still unclear about the definition of just what "social enterprise" means.

Although he didn't directly address this or spell anything out, Benioff did further explain his platform and beliefs about how social media is "fundamental" to the way we conduct business today.

Benioff cited the 2012 IBM Global Chief Executive Officer survey, which posited that something "revolutionary has been happening" with the convergence of cloud, social and mobile spheres as it is connecting employees and partners.

According to the survey, CEOs project social networking in the enterprise to grow by 256 percent over the next three years.

"That for me was when a light came on," Benioff remarked, adding that is why Salesforce is going to "double-down again on this vision."

Benioff also described that social media has given way to a product revolution, citing how just one YouTube video can spur such strong emotions, debate and unrest worldwide nearly instantly.

He acknowledged that we are also in a time that is unusual because it's not just about how or why people are connecting via social media. Benioff continued that "it goes even deeper because this nature of connecting with customers in a whole new way gets down into our core, a fundamental interaction between each one of us because we're changing how we're doing business."

"We believe so strongly that Salesforce.com's mission is to help you, our customers, to connect with your customers," Benioff asserted, describing the social revolution as also a "trust revolution" because of the relationships being developed via social.

Thus, Benioff proposed the question that he thinks all companies need to ask: Are you and your company going through a social revolution?

Benioff responded that Salesforce believes this question will be the make or break question for companies that will fail or succeed going forward.

To back up Salesforce's rhetoric, Benioff cited that Salesforce customers in the Fortune 500 using social technologies within the enterprise are growing 48 percent faster than those who are not.

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