The Rise of the Social Enterprise at Dreamforce

“After an Arab spring in the Middle East, we will see customers rise up and demand that organizations listen. In not so long from now we’ll start to hear about a corporate spring. We’ve seen Mubarak fall. We’ve seen Kadhafi fall. When will the first CEO fall for the same reason?” 

“By creating social customer profiles, employee social networks, customer social networks and product social networks, companies can delight their customers in entirely new ways.”

“Our social enterprise vision fundamentally changes how companies collaborate, share and manage information,” ~ Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO,  

San Francisco, the enterprise cloud computing company, unveiled at Dreamforce 2011– the largest cloud computing event in the world – how it will reinvent itself in front of a crowd of 45,000 enthusiastic attendees. CEO Marc Benioff said: “Salesforce was born cloud and have now been born social. We want to delight our customers with something new.”

Salesforce Wants to Help Organizations Become More Social

While sales automation was the company’s original focus, Salesforce is transitioning to become an end-to-end social business enabler – what appears in many ways very similar to a Facebook for the corporate world. It seeks to evolve from an on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution to a Platform as a service (PaaS) provider for building and running custom applications.

Not only is social a major transition for Salesforce, but it also signals a major shift that will have significant repercussions for everyone – traditional and technology companies alike. The social hype has now reached the enterprise!

I will leave the analysis of the technical aspects to others and focus on the business implications and opportunities.

Bridging the Social Divide

The social revolution spearheaded by Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter has created a social divide. “Customers are social and employees are social. But are our companies social?” Although some organizations have made efforts to embrace the social trend, most have only made baby steps so far and are not using the full capabilities of the tools and information currently available.

Benioff envisions the beginning of an era where social enterprises leverage social, mobile and open cloud technologies to revolutionize relationships with employees within the company and with customers.

Benioff used a simple example to illustrate how companies can leverage abundant available information to serve customers better and deliver a more enjoyable, tailor-made experience. Wouldn’t it be great if your favorite hotel really knew who you are, what your unique needs and preferences are, and how to make your stay truly unforgettable?

Unveiling New Social Innovations for the Social Enterprise

Salesforce gave clear indications over the last few years of its vision and where it is headed with the development of Chatter and and, more recently, the acquisition of Heroku and Radian6, social media monitoring company based in New Brunswick,Canada. introduced this week several new social innovations across Salesforce’s apps and platform. For those interested in learning more, click here

Case Studies from Innovative Social Enterprises

Saleforce has been looking worldwide for best practices, modeling the success stories, finding the companies breaking through and asking them what they are doing.

Successful social enterprises leverage social, mobile and open cloud technologies to put customers at the heart of their business.

Saleforce proposes a 3-step process to bridge the social divide.

Step 1: Create a database – you can learn more about your customers than ever before.

Step 2: Create an employee social network – integrate business processes and workflow applications into the employee social network to improve productivity and communication.

Step 3: Create product and social networks – involve customers in the social network.

To inspire attendees, here are few of the case studies presented during the conference:

Case I – Dell Social Media Command Center

As reported in Mashable, the launch of the Dell Social Media Command Center in December 2010 “is an innovative move on Dell’s part, but this isn’t the first social media monitoring center of its kind. In June 2010, Gatorade was the first to launch a social media control center, with the opening of its Social Media Mission Control Center, which looks strikingly similar to Dell’s center.”

“This news, combined with Gatorade’s earlier launch, seems to be the start of a new trend of developing specialized monitoring practices within organizations.” By engaging more actively in online dialogue involving their brands, organizations are hoping that those insights can be used effectively to optimize product and marketing decisions.

Case II – Gatorade Mission Control

What does it take to actively engage millions? The voices of our athletes and influencers are heard with Gatorade’s Mission Control.

Tour of the Gatorade Social Media Mission Control.

More on how Gatorade is Transforming from a Sport Drink Brand to a Sport Performance Innovation Company.

Case III – KLM Social Media Surprise Experiment

Who knew flying could be so enjoyable and full of pleasant surprises!

Case IV – Burberry

Any organization can embrace social if an iconic luxury fashion house founded in 1856 is capable. Burberry is offering a consistent, high quality consumer experience across all its platforms (physical and online). 

Burberry uses to create the ultimate Social Enterprise

Angela Ahrendts, Burberry CEO, at World Retail Congress 2010


More on the Burberry strategy here

Opening Video for the Dreamforce 2011 Day One Keynote


Kicking Off the Dreamforce 2011 Day Two Keynote

Love the Will.I.Am theme song!


Dreamforce 2011 Minute-By-Minute Blogging

Scott M. Fulton—sale.php

 Dion Hinchcliffe


About Ludovic Dumas

Ludovic transforms innovative companies into world-class organizations. He is an investment professional at an investment firm representing the interests of one of the most successful families in Canadian business. Before joining the private equity world, Ludovic was an investment banker at CIBC and with ING Group’s investment banking team in Frankfurt, Germany. Mr. Dumas was also a management consultant with Deloitte where he worked on corporate strategy, restructuring, market analysis, due diligence, and economic development mandates. Specialties Mergers & acquisitions, capital raise, corporate strategy, entrepreneurship.
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