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Enterprise networking using Salesforce Chatter

In today's complex networked organizations, integration of different business functions has become more important than ever. Consider the case of a manufacturing unit - the procurement team requires inputs from inventory management before placing orders for raw materials; the manufacturing division has to negotiate with resource management for optimizing human and capital resources; and the sales team has to constantly keep the finance department in the loop about customer pricing. Up-to-date information has to be shared across the organization for centralized decision making. The need of the hour is a platform that helps business information to be shared in real time. Enter Chatter, the enterprise networking application from Salesforce.com.


Chatter brings to the forefront the networking principles pioneered by Facebook and Twitter but with an enterprise twist. Over and above vanilla networking functionalities like creation of profiles and contact lists, Chatter provides enhanced capabilities like tracking record updates using feeds and sharing business information using groups (1). The wealth of information available by integrating data across the organization assists management in making critical decisions. For example, a retail store manager will be able to place timely orders for a particular product by tracking real time updates to the inventory field of that product (2); a business opportunity can be converted by creating a group to share available information before the client presentation.

According to a Gartner report (3), over 50 percent of enterprises will use activity streams like micro-blogging by 2012. The quest for synergizing organizational capabilities has set the precedent for a new paradigm in which an 'enterprise Twitter' or an 'enterprise Facebook' will be used not just as networking tools but also as change agents. What is needed is a holistic understanding of the benefits of enterprise networking and how Chatter, with its collaboration capabilities and built-in integration with the Salesforce CRM suite is best-placed to lead this revolution.
1) http://www.salesforce.com/in/chatter/features/
2) http://www.infoworld.com/d/applications/salesforce-steps-enterprise-social-networking-718
3) http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1293114
4) http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/salesforce-chatter-social-network/

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