Salesforce Chatter Matters – Our Experience with Chatter

April 8, 2010 Appirio

Balakrishna Narasimhan

When Salesforce Chatter was introduced in December at Dreamforce amid much hype, many were rightly skeptical. We have believed from the beginning that Chatter is a potentially transformative addition to the Salesforce platform. We are building Chatter into our products, launching the industry’s first social services management applications, and over the past month have started using Chatter within our own organization.

This week, the focus will again be on Chatter at Cloudforce New York, so we thought we’d take a quick look back at the past few months and see how Chatter has impacted Appirio.

How Chatter has impacted our offerings
Everyone talks about the TCO and agility advantages offered by building in the cloud but something that’s often overlooked is the near instant ability to innovate. Within the space of a few months, our PS Enterprise application acquired a snazzy new user interface and became the industry’s first social services management application. All with almost no intervention from us.

This is one of the areas where cloud computing truly breaks with the past. In traditional development paradigms, taking advantage of new platform capabilities would require rearchitecting the application on the new stack. Of course, taking full advantage of new capabilities like Chatter requires more than just switching it on, but it’s more a matter of identifying the business scenarios that are most impacted by Chatter and redesigning those parts of our app rather than having to rearchitect it or rebuild it.

How Chatter has impacted our business
About a month ago, we started using Chatter within Appirio. In typical Appirio fashion, the introduction was met with innovation from our R&D team, who quickly wrote an app that would automatically follow everyone else within Appirio. Within a few weeks, our Chatter stream has become as vibrant as my newsfeed on Facebook. The benefits we’ve seen so far are:
1) Collaboration across teams: There are already multiple examples of people saying they’re working on something and finding out that someone else did something similar through Chatter. For example, I mentioned that I was working on creating a new “book of services” profiling all our offerings and I quickly got input and awesome content from members of our pre-sales and delivery teams. Almost instantly, I had what I needed to pull the book together.
2) Real-time context: It’s completely different to go to leads, opportunities, projects or accounts and immediately see the latest related Chatter. For example, we were looking for a customer to speak at one of our events recently and I narrowed it down to a few candidates. By looking at the Chatter related to each account, I quickly saw that our CEO was going to be meeting with one of the customers the next day. I replied to his Chatter asking him to see if the customer would be interested. The next day, we had our customer speaker!
3) Building our community: We have a very dispersed team with only one physical office location and many of our 200 team-members working from their home offices. With Chatter, it’s easy for everyone to participate in conversations and actually meet others within the company who are working on similar things. It also makes it easy for our team to share important personal milestones with each other. For example, our CMO has been Chattering it up about his new iPad!

What Chatter could mean for your business
Chatter has also changed every Salesforce or custom development project that we’ve done or will do. There’s now a significant new capability that we can bring to our customers to help them make their sales, support and business-specific processes more effective. The amazing thing is that unlike with traditional software, every customer of ours who’s already live on Salesforce or has a custom app built on Force is in a position to take advantage of Chatter. The question is how to get started with Chatter. To address this question, we’ve developed a Chatter Energizer workshop to help you identify where the best opportunities for Chatter are and arm you with the technical tools to get started. Get started with your Chatter Energizer workshop today!

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