Analysis: Salesforce.com takes a leaf out of Facebook

By Sooraj Shah
12 Oct 2012 View Comments
marc-benioff-of-salesforce

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has boldly claimed that his company’s strategy is to attempt to create “the Facebook for the enterprise”. Presumably his vision is based on the popularity of Facebook at its peak rather than the post-IPO Facebook that shareholders are shying away from – but does it make any sense?

Further reading

At the firm’s premier event, Dreamforce in San Francisco, Benioff openly stated his desire to look at Facebook as a template for an enterprise platform and defended his vision during a Q&A session.

“What we see is that Facebook is the most popular application on the planet. There are a billion people who use it, with more than half of them logging in, which is incredible. I think all software is going to look like Facebook, with the likes of ‘status updates’, and people are going to have to re-write to have a feed-based platform because this is what users have been trained to be productive with,” he said.

Facebook passed the one billion monthly active users milestone on 14 September, while back in June figures showed it had 552 million daily active users on average. 

But on the downside, features such as the compulsory “timeline” have proved controversial for the social networking site, as has its IPO, which saw its shares sliding from $38 to $25 in just two months.

Benioff shrugged off any criticism of the social network, which is a customer of Salesforce.com.

“I wouldn’t judge a company based on its IPO. I don’t think you can dismiss a company that has a billion users, half of which logged on today,” he stated.

The Salesforce.com offering that most resembles Facebook is its collaboration tool Chatter.

“Just as Twitter, Yammer, Google+, Facebook and email are all news feeds, so is Chatter, and it’s clear that this application experience becomes a way that people live,” Salesforce.com’s senior vice president Sean Whiteley told Computing.

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