Salesforce.com on Tuesday will announce a major upgrade to its cloud offerings for the enterprise, expected to launch next month. Among them is a feature that's meant to expand sharing between salesforce.com users, the ability to share "cases" so that customers in need of support no longer have to be handed off to third-party vendors to solve their problems.
The features, being announced today, are part of Summer ’09, the company’s 29th generation release of its offerings. The lineup includes other features, as well – such as a workflow visualizer, enhanced charts and new automated e-mail alerts. But the feature that executives are highlighting is case-sharing.
Consider the example of an end-user having trouble with a cell phone headset. To solve the problem, they may turn to their wireless provider when, in fact, the problem is with the headset manufacturer. Instead of replying with a “not our problem” response and sending the user to the headset manufacturer the wireless company can maintain control of the support ticket but will share the case information with the handset company - simply by sharing it via salesforce - so the two companies can work to solve the problem.
This stems, in part, from apps that salesforce previously added - included those that businesses to track what's being said about their brand and their products on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook and also allows them to monitor search terms in Google to track potential problems.
Other features being announced Tuesday include:
Visual charting analytics tools that allows customers to access an sift through data in real-time in order to make quick and smart business decisions.
The ability to grant access to information to colleagues who might be involved in the closing of the deal.
A workflow visualizer that attempts to simply the procedural process of transactions, such as company approvals or rejections, to making the transaction visual and interactive.
One of the key themes within salesforce these days is "real time," such as the the ability to track information in real time or update the applications in real time. When the company releases the upgrades of Summer '09, they'll just happen. Users will come in on a Monday morning and the new apps will just be there.
That's the power of real time business in the cloud, executives said.