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Salesforce Cranks Up Chatter for Social Intelligence

Salesforce Cranks Up Chatter for Social Intelligence

Salesforce's efforts to create social networks for enterprises with its Chatter service gets turned up to eleven with Chatter Topics and Expertise, a new feature that provides a one-stop-shop for organizations needing information and experts on various topics. That need can extend to data within an organization as well, helping employees find the best people to partner with and get help from for projects.

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
04/05/13 11:48 AM PT

Salesforce.com has upgraded Salesforce Chatter with a new feature that collects and aggregates unstructured data -- or perhaps better put, social intelligence -- onto one page for easy reference.

The feature is called Chatter Topics and Expertise, and it lets users find information and related resources and identify experts, based on topics of interest.

Salesforce Chatter Topics and Expertise
Salesforce Chatter Topics and Expertise

Social intelligence -- mining it, organizing it, making use of it -- has been the subtext of Chatter since the tool launched, said Anna Rosenman, senior manager, Chatter Product Marketing. A secondary goal is to help users understand the relationship between other employees or people in an organization, along with topics and transactions.

Both of these elements are part of Chatter Topics and Expertise, but the new feature introduces a twist, she said -- bringing topics and expertise onto one page. "That is real generational shift in the current technology and it is ahead of what most consumer technologies offer right now," Rosenman told CRM Buyer.

How It Works

Chatter Topics and Expertise analyzes and categorizes structured and unstructured information within a company. Related experts, files, group and other data are then displayed on a single topic page. The topic pages are automatically curated via Salesforce.com's algorithms, but they are also influenced by user feedback of topic suggestions in the feed.

The technology Salesforce.com has developed evaluates a post on a sentence by sentence basis, and then identifies potential and existing topics, Rosenman said. "The system also relies on people to validate those recommendations."

The topic page that is then created cuts across all public and private groups to put related information in one spot, she added.

How It Could Be Used

Salesforce.com offers a range of scenarios regarding how topic pages could be used. A new hire, for example, could get up to speed on a particular subject far more quickly, including getting a feel for the players in a particular sector or office. As an added bonus, that employee could conceivably reach out to the experts listed on the topic page for assistance with a particular task.

The topic pages will also support the three traditional legs of CRM, Salesforce.com said -- sales, service and marketing.

Sales reps will be able to identify topics and experts relevant to a particular deal they are negotiating or trying to land. Customer service reps will have access to product or company policy information that much quicker, especially if the subject is an arcane one. Marketers may find it is easier to create and collaborate on campaigns with a relevant topic page.

A More Efficient Organization

Chatter Topics and Expertise could also be used just to make an office run that much more efficiently. That, at least, is how Benjamin Luftman, managing partner at Luftman, Heck & Associates plans to use the new feature.

The law firm already uses Salesforce and Chatter to manage legal cases and to communicate in real-time with employees about clients, he told CRM Buyer.

"The introduction of Chatter Topics will be of great benefit to us, allowing us to link multiple Chatter posts to a common Topic page," he said. "Being a law firm, we use a lot of documents and forms which are often similar and used over multiple accounts."

Being able to view documents shared via Chatter by topic will help the firm quickly find forms when needed, Luftman added, and "is a huge benefit for the hurried professional on the run."


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