Social networking shows inner workings of business

Users chat about Chatter at Cloudforce.

Social networking

Users are finding Salesforce.com's Chatter service is helping to show who the real company movers and shakers are. The message was made clear at a meeting of users at the Cloudforce conference in London.

"We now have a clearer view of how our support groups really work and who people turn to for advice," said Kimberly Jansen, director of global CRM at Misys. "It gives a valuable insight into how people want to work and has increased the efficiency of our focus groups."

Chatter users have been online for just over two months, but already the feedback appears positive. The general opinion is social networking in a business context breaks down virtual barriers between departments.

"Feedback shows that it also allows a CEO to see what is really happening inside the company and frees them from the CEO bubble," claimed Robin Daniels, director of product marketing at Salesforce.

Jansen added her company had branches all over the world. "The global spread stretches to areas like India and Manilla. Before we relied on email but now our communications have been [sped] up and the service allows people to add a more personal flavour to their interactions," she said.

CloudApps develops software to monitor their customers' carbon footprints. Simon Wheeldon, the company's CEO, claimed: "The application has improved the way we work. It makes it much easier to gather information about carbon reduction regulations because everyone is working in the same space. We can execute surveys that reach into the supply chain and our use of email has reduced.

"When a company grows beyond five or six people it is easy for the CEO to start to lose touch with what is happening. Chatter not only allows us to get information in real time but we can also track back through the chain of messages - that's not easily done with email."

Although the message was positive, as might be expected with Salesforce selecting the speakers, there is a downside for staff. It becomes apparent who is a conscientious, knowledgeable worker but it also highlights those who appear to be less forthcoming with input.

There is also the possibility people may sometimes post inappropriate comments. This may be a criticism of fellow workers or customers. Salesforce has put together a document of Chatter Etiquette to guide users in avoiding the pitfalls.

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