Salesforce.com rolls out 'Service Cloud,' eyes social networking connections

Salesforce.com rolls out 'Service Cloud,' eyes social networking connections

Summary: Salesforce.com has unveiled its Service Cloud, a customer service application that's designed for cloud computing and plugged into conversations that occur on Google, Facebook and Amazon.

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Salesforce.com has unveiled its Service Cloud, a customer service application that's designed for cloud computing and plugged into conversations that occur on Google, Facebook and Amazon.

The effort (statement, Techmeme) is built on the Force.com platform. In a statement, Salesforce.com said that "two-thirds of all service conversations will take place in the cloud."

It appears that the Service Cloud is a part of the InStranet integration. While the details of the Service Cloud seem a bit fuzzy--Dennis Howlett will dissect later--the main pitch here is that Salesforce.com is trying to link up social networking and customer service. The idea isn't exactly unique as Oracle and SAP have similar efforts underway. In general, customer service reps will be better able to monitor feedback from customers wherever they go--including Facebook.

However, Salesforce.com is more likely to provide these linkages quicker given it's a software as a service vendor.

Key components include:

  • Customer communities for interaction not just posting. Salesforce.com wants to host corporate communities.
  • Social networking connections. Salesforce.com said its Service Cloud will connect to Facebook, forums and blogs. The goal: Absorb information into a corporate knowledge base.
  • Search ranking. Salesforce.com promises that Service Cloud results will be ranked near the top of Google results.
  • Partner information sharing via the cloud.
  • Multi-channel--phone, email and chat--support hosted in the cloud.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Enterprise Software, Networking

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5 comments
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  • A start at last...

    Salesforce.com does not lead the customer services cloud spade -- and this is really an SaaS play, rather than cloud as such, where they trail RightNow -- but I share their conviction that social networks are key to CRM moving forward.

    A Facebook integration option for Force.com has been around for a little while, so this was probably quite easy to do. They'll need to support Twitter too though as a minimum I would suggest.

    And I also foresee customers updating their profiles in a way that enables Salesforce.com stored contact details to be maintained by the people they refer to, rather than the companies they deal with.

    I've blogged on this over at ZDNet UK: http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,1000000567,10009632o-2000561249b,00.htm

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ
    http://www.wecando.biz
    ianhendry
  • No way. Why???

    "As I?m sure half the known and 2/3 of the yet to be discovered universe is aware now, salesforce.com had an outage on January 6. It was due to a memory allocation failure in the main servers and it whacked the failover to back up servers too."

    Uh huh, sure you can trust your important information in a place you may or may not be able to get to it.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • No Ax to Grind?

      I'm the one who wrote that post you quote above and if
      you read the rest of it, you'll see that the outage
      was 38 minutes and had very little ultimate effect on
      anything except the journalists and SaaS or cloud
      naysayers who went wild spitting about it.

      So, that being my quote, let me answer you with a new
      one "you CAN trust your important information..." with
      a SaaS delivery model. You can trust your info to be
      stored in the cloud safely. The decision for what
      delivery model you use should be based on what makes
      sense for your company - not "oh, on premise-good; on
      demand-BAD." But data security isn't a big concern,
      nor is data access. You telling me an on premise
      server never failed and lost data?
      pgreenbe
      • On-premise never failed?

        Excellent point often forgotten from the debate on-
        demand vs on-premise...

        Experienced professionals like us know that the main
        difference between an on-premise server and an on-
        demand server is that whatever happen on the on-
        premise one stays "on-premise" and NEVER go to the
        press/media...

        This applies to data security as well as server
        availability and performance.
        Fabrice Cathala
  • On-Line Community to Support Customers

    If you look at Service Cloud as a step in the direction of using an on-line community to support customers, you should really take a look at Helpstream. They are in the cloud (actually hosted on Amazon's EC2) and have done a great job of integrating a deeply functional community application with service desk workflows.
    P. Kay