Salesforce.com wants to “completely eliminate the need for Dropbox in the enterprise” with the launch next year of a rival Cloud storage offering, Chatterbox.
With an increasing numbers of such offerings in the market – ranging from Box through Huddle to Microsoft and Google – Salesforce.com is pitching the major competitive differentiator with Chatterbox as its integration with the established Chatter collaboration offering.
“Chatter brings social to collaboration,” said Salesforce.com co-founder Parker Harris highlighted at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. “Customers asked for us to break down barriers of collaboration. That’s why we’ve introduced Communities. We rewrote Chatter to make this possible. We know that what drives adoption is the file. Customers asked for drag and drop files and we did that. But that was not enough. Customers asked us why was there not a Dropbox for the enterprise? Now there is.”
Harris said Salesforce Chatterbox’s functionality allows users to:
- Share and manage files
- Access files from mobile devices
- Collaborate in context of business allowing employees to share files within the context of business in real-time and right in the place they work
- Files will be posted to the Chatter feed as soon as they are saved and shared via Chatterbox.
Harris highlighted an example of how staff of US airline Virgin America could upload personalised flight plans to Chatterbox via a folder on their desktops and get realtime information on the flight schedule and route. More than that, Chatterbox gives all passengers brief profiles on other passengers on the flight.
Virgin America CEO David Cush made it clear that the airline wants passengers to experience more than a flight. The goal "is not four to six hours of dead time,” he said. “The goal is for (a flight) to be a great four to six hours of your life."
It’s an interesting move by Salesforce.com reckons analyst firm Nucleus Research
. “This is more than a simple file share: it enables users to share content within the context of their business workflows and makes the Salesforce Chatter rules engine into a dynamic content architecture manager,” the firm notes.
“Many companies have adopted Dropbox as a solution for sharing files, but Nucleus expects this integrated solution will streamline the sharing of information, put that information in context, and increase the quality of information captured, increasing productivity.”
Nucleus predicts that ChatterBox has the potential to increase the baseline of corporate knowledge by at least twofold. “For geographically distributed organisations and those with a significant remote worker or contractor population, the gain is potentially much greater,” it states.
There are two main reasons why Salesforce.com and Chatterbox may do better than, for examples, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sharepoint, argues the research firm. “The dynamic and automatic linking of files to specific business workflows will reduce the onus on users to create and maintain logical homes for the latest version of their work,” it says. “Second, the ability to access the latest version of a document from any device anywhere will provide clear and immediate benefits for individual users, driving adoption.
“Making Chatter the centre of file sharing will drive greater access to and value from the baseline of corporate knowledge,” Nucleus concludes.