Salesforce.com is planning to release a stripped-down version of its Chatter corporate social networking software to accelerate adoption.
CEO Marc Benioff said on Saleforce.com's earnings conference call that the company was planning on releasing the free version of Chatter at its Dreamforce conference in early December. The company reported strong earnings on Thursday. Here's what Benioff said:
We are working on a free version of Chatter that will be a kind of virally-based product. And we will introduce that to our customers at Dreamforce. Some of our customers already have that product. And that is very exciting for us. We have been testing making Chatter more viral by giving our customers the ability to send viral invites. One of the things for us is that our customers need to assign their e-mail domain to service and then the admin needs to turn on this kind of viral invite capability, but that is very exciting for us. And so this will be a new stripped down version of Chatter, but it will operate within our existing customer network. So if you are a customer you will be able to e-mail and send viral invites to other customers. And this, I think, will be just a tremendous accelerator for Chatter. And we plan to turn that on for all customers shortly. And, two, we will have a kind of free, independent service that is kind of a viral service that we will mostly use as lead gen and for getting customers to up sell, called Chatter.com. And we plan to launch that in the first quarter. And that will be very exciting for us and for all of our customers. And as we start to work on that Chatter.com concept, that will have a lot of the kind of look and flavor that you can see of the traditional enterprise social networking sites. We are already a lot bigger than them, as you know, but the big differentiator we have, of course, remains this data integration. So that will be extremely exciting for us.
Benioff talked a lot about Chatter. Other odds and ends to note:
- The revenue impact from Chatter hasn't been material yet.
- Chatter makes the rest of Salesforce.com's services "stickier."
- New Chatter deployments in the third quarter included Amazon.com, Bausch & Lomb, Bank of America, Deloitte, Harrah's, Kelly Services, Motorola, Nikon, Siemens and Vodafone.
- Dell has rolled out Chatter to 90,000 employees.
- Benioff said: "Less than five months into its debut, we now report that over 60,000 -- that is 60,000 -- of our more than 87,000 paying customers have now deployed Salesforce Chatter. That means that it is the largest enterprise social network in place today. And it means that we have more than tripled the number of deployments since we first reported on Chatter adoption only one quarter ago."