Salesforce expands product categories for on-demand

Pioneer SaaS company will offer content management and collaborative services

Although the major news at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce developer conference in San Francisco this week was Visualforce, CEO Marc Benioff had a few other surprise announcements up his sleeve to keep an overflow audience interested in listening to almost all of his two-hour keynote address.

[ Video: Benioff highlights platform-as-a-service ]

The introduction of Salesforce Ideas and Salesforce Content expands Salesforce offerings to six product lines and takes the company farther afield from its original target audience of CRM and Salesforce Automation application users.

Salesforce Content is content management as a service.

The on-demand application will employ tagging, subscriptions, and user recommendations to allow users to manage documents, both structured and unstructured.

While users can deploy full-text searches for documents and content, no details were given on how documents can be retrieved for more complex searches, such as e-mail searches by date, time, or subject matter, typically used for e-discovery.

Under the heading "You can't always be first," Salesforce Ideas puts social networking in a business context, which is not unlike IBM's Web 2.0 Goes To Work initiative announcement made last spring.

Ideas will allow Salesforce customers to collaborate from within the company's Salesforce applications.

According to Parker Harris, a Salesforce co-founder, Ideas will allow those in collaboration mode to rate and vote on ideas. For example, the best ideas for advancing company goals would bubble higher up to the top of the list of all ideas under discussion.

Users will be able to build separate online communities by department or any other grouping chosen. Ideas are posted, along with graphical content when needed, and opened up to a collaborative environment.

The immediate feedback, "instant" focus groups, according to a Salesforce statement, can be kept behind the firewall or opened up to partners and customers alike.

Salesforce Ideas and Content will be available in limited release and are scheduled to be fully delivered in 2008.

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