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Salesforce Reinvents Its Social Elements, Launches ‘Community Cloud’

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A social network for work – haven’t we seen this before?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) specialist Salesforce.com has launched a set of tools that enable businesses to create their own online communities hosted on its cloud platform.

The Salesforce1 Community Cloud updates the old ‘Communities’ functionality and enables members to create pages and profiles, ‘follow’ people and topics that interest them, exchange opinions and collaborate.

But the Community Cloud is not just another social network – it is directly connected to Salesforce CRM and essential business processes.

“Any company can benefit from creating an engaged community,” said Vanessa Thompson, research director of enterprise collaboration and social solutions at IDC. “Salesforce.com raises awareness of the immense value of community solutions with Salesforce1 Community Cloud by putting business processes at the centre of engagement.”

The Internet of Customers

Salesforce quotes a recent IBM study, which found that 75 percent of C-level executives want to know their customers better and are doubling down on digital engagement. Today, the company is offering them a platform on which to focus these efforts.

communities_why_1The Community Cloud was designed to serve as a single “LinkedIn-like” destination for customers, partners and employees. It builds upon the success of the ‘Communities’ product that was launched in 2013, and already enabled Salesforce users to create fully-branded public or private pages that connected members directly with each other.

Like so many social endeavours, Community Cloud is designed around profiles. Each member’s profile page is updated with content and suggested groups that match their specific interests. There are also endorsements and reputation ratings.

At the same time, plenty of space has been reserved for business purposes. “Now resellers can update leads, employees can create and escalate service cases and customers can review and rate products all from within the community,” the company explained in a press release.

Administrators can create new communities using built-in templates, and apply custom branding. All of the pages are open to Google and other search engines, so customers will be able to instantly find the Salesforce1 community that interests them, without having to log in. The new functionality is cross-platform, and Salesforce promises the same experience on a tablet, laptop or smartphone.

Community Cloud already hosts more than 2,000 active communities which have apparently migrated from the older product. They include such juggernauts as BSkyB, Pearson, Hollywell, Tata Communications and GE Capital.

The prices start at $500 per month, with Community Cloud opening to new customers in October.

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