Dreamforce 2012: The importance of social in business

By Sooraj Shah
20 Sep 2012 View Comments

Salesforce.com's CEO Marc Benioff (pictured) kicked off the firm's Dreamforce event with a keynote entitled "Business is Social". He drew on the experiences of high-profile customers and their thoughts on the importance of social in business.

Benioff stated that the firm's main intention was to help customers to connect in different way.

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"The question that we keep asking [customers] is: 'Are you and your company going through a social revolution.... In order to enable you to build trust in an open, collaborated world'," he said.

Chief marketing officer (CMO) of Salesforce customer General Electric (GE) Beth Comstock said that her company challenged itself by asking, "How do we connect our customers and employees, and connect them to our machines?".

She said businesses need the social element to get closer to customers in order to "help make what you do [as a company] better".

Global CIO of GE Charlene Begley agreed, and emphasised the changes social can make to a business.

"It changes the way we do business, social gives us new revenue streams, new ways to give information to customers. It is about accelerating communication.

"For GE, with over 300,000 employees, it is about accelerated learning and new ways of bringing value to the customer. For example, we can quickly grab data [from a social source] for an airline to be more efficient," she said.

A move to incorporate social into the business has also occurred within the gaming industry, according to the CIO of games developer Activision Robert Schmid.

"A lot of [the shift] is driven by what games are now; it's a very social experience, people playing games every day. But this isn't just a technology change, it's a cultural and generational change.

"I think it's all about being personal and interacting with people in the way that they want to be interacted with. Salesforce will allow us to connect to customers through Facebook and Twitter... social makes us more efficient," he added.

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