Dreamforce 2012 - Five questions for Salesforce.com

Dreamforce 2012 - Five questions for Salesforce.com

Company's burgeoning array of products and 'social enterprise' strategy will be on display

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Salesforce.com has grown into a company much broader in scope than its name would suggest, having moved well beyond its roots in on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) software.

During the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Salesforce.com is planning to give attendees the full rundown on how it can be a central player in their companies' IT strategies and help them "touch the social enterprise".


While Salesforce.com recently abandoned its bid to trademark the phrase "social enterprise," those words will still define its core strategy of combining an array of business applications with social networking tools in order to bring together customers, partners and employees.

Here's a look at some key questions the company may look to answer at Dreamforce, which starts later today.

Is the social enterprise strategy starting to click?

A survey of Salesforce.com customers released by consulting firm Bluewolf found that only 24% were currently "working on becoming social."

Another 18% said "social is important for some businesses, but not for us" and a total of 27% said they either weren't familiar with it, think it's a fad, or believe it's important but don't know how to proceed.

The survey also found that adoption of Salesforce.com's Chatter social collaboration tool, which provides messaging and document sharing, remains "cold," despite the fact that it was launched more than two years ago and is available in a free version.

All of that suggests that Salesforce.com has some more work in store convincing and educating customers on its vision.

Still, it's only one survey, and Salesforce.com has some revealing figures of its own on tap.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said last month that he would discuss at Dreamforce how many customers have signed Social Enterprise License Agreements, a new offering announced last year that provides fixed-fee access to a wide range of the company's products, from CRM to application development tools.

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