Selling Social to the Enterprise- Chatter and other thoughts
I’ve been stewing a few things in my head over since the last post about Salesforce’s new approach to social computing and what it means to the rest of us. Phil Wainewright wrote in Taming the Chatter Cloud:
Not attending Dreamforce, it appears I missed a telling moment, the irony of which I would have enjoyed had I been there to witness it in person. It seems Salesforce.com has announced a new feature named after that most social of activities, Chatter, which aims to bring to the enterprise the functionality seen in social network tools such as Twitter and Facebook. But as Marc Benioff later told a gathering of press and analysts, it’s not a social network, oh no.
As I wasn’t there I can only go from what’s been reported. But it seems Benioff (no doubt guided by his marketing advisors) has decided to follow the advice promulgated at the recent Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco — by no less a figure than Enterprise 2.0 guru Andrew McAfee — not to overuse the word social in front of business software buyers when talking about, erm, social computing. “I have rarely come across a word that has more negative connotations to managers in enterprise organizations,” McAfee warned his audience two weeks ago.
… So there we have it. Chatter’s going to be positioned as a collaboration tool, because that’s what customers are willing to pay for.
I guess that’s the insight that SaaS people will be most interested in- sell collaboration not social. In fact, it seems like you need to avoid “social” like the plague…
In Enterprise 2.0: What do we know today about moving our organizations into the 21st century? Dion Hinchcliffe says:
We spend 60-80% of our time in the workplace on interaction and collaborative activity.
And that got me thinking… doesn’t it seem like we need better tools to interact and collaborate than phone, email, whiteboards and sharepoint (if you’re lucky!) and if those better tools were effective, they could drive massive productivity improvements?
I’m not sure if I believe all the touted “improvements”, but we need to do something to get out of email overload and work out a more effective, collaborative workplace.
I think Chatter will help enterprises listen and communicate much more effectively with their customers on Twitter and Facebook, wrapping enterprise quality processes around social media. This is a great step forward for people who haven’t embraced social erm collaboration to respond better to the new ways customers communicate. I hope it also opens up opportunities for innovative SaaS vendors to sell to enterprises that previously hadn’t considered the importance of social and Enterprise 2.0 previously.