Former Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, speaking in his new role as an executive for Salesforce.com, told the IT community today that powerful social networking applications are helping organizations interact with employees and customers in new dimensions, spurring a worldwide social enterprise revolution.
Kundra, who served as master of ceremonies for a two-hour presentation at a cloud computing event in Washington, D.C., showed an audience of about 2,000 gathered at the Washington Convention Center how leading corporations are incorporating applications that tap into a variety of social networking platforms to engage employees and customers.
He also announced a new suite of cloud computing products aimed at the government market from Salesforce.com.
The social revolution has also created a social divide.” – Vivek Kundra
The CloudForce event and Kundra’s presentation was a huge commercial for Salesforce.com and its latest suite of products, including new dedicated platforms and a mobile apps store for government. But it also provided a window into how organizations are fundamentally rewriting the rules for how they interact with employees and their customers, including HP, Toyota, Kimberly-Clark, Activision and LivingSocial.
Kundra outlined three levels in which social media are changing the ways enterprises work:
- First is the rise of the social profile of individuals who use social media to express their lives, their aspirations-and of concern to corporations-their grievances.
- Second is the rise of the employee social networks. “Why is it you know more about random people than your own employees?” Kundra asked the audience.
- Third is the rise of customer social networks that give organizations the ability to monitor and proactively intervene in social media conversations to address complaints and engage customers to explore new ideas.
“The social revolution has also created a social divide,” Kundra warned, pointing to a significant chasm emerging in the world between individuals in society — and organizations as well — that don’t have access to the social media revolution, or remain unfamiliar with to take advantage of it.
Despite his former prominence as a cloud computing champion in federal government, Kundra made virtually no reference to how cloud computing and social media are transforming government agencies.
Kundra used the stage, however, to formally announce that Salesforce.com is introducing its own cloud computing infrastructure dedicated to U.S. federal, state, and local government customers and government-authorized entities.
The multi-tenant cloud infrastructure will be built on the company’s current infrastructure in the U.S. which already meets Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and other standards, but will be devoted exclusively to government entities, offering separate application and database servers. It is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2012.
In addition, Kundra said the company is introducing a new AppExchange for Government that will take a subset of some 1,400 partner-developed applications offered by Salesforce.com and make them available in a one-stop shop for government agencies. The new exchange is expected to have 60 apps when it is launched, including BasicGov, which streamlines permitting, inspections and code enforcement and DocuSign, an e-signature application used to speed up document processing in the cloud.
Kundra also said Salesforce.com is introducing a new government partner accelerator program to help address the lack of integrators trained to develop and deploy cloud technologies designed for social enterprise computing needs. The Salesforce Government Partner Accelerator Program, currently has 1,000 integrators lined up for the training between now and the end of 2012
Kundra used the majority of the presentation to highlight examples of social enterprise solutions, introducing a parade of executives from Salesforce.com and several of its leading customers.
Among the examples he showed:
- Living Social, the Washington, D.C.-based social media coupon site uses an application called Rypple that easily lets its 5,000 employees and their managers review and acknowledge the work of the company’s employees in a Facebook like environment; awards employees merit badges; and serves as a new age alternative to traditional performance management tools.
- Consumer products company Kimberly-Clark uses Salesforce.com’s Chatter platform as a foundation to help health inspectors report health problems, using tagging and message tools via mobile devices that has significantly improved productivity.
- Activision, the $4.8 billion gaming giant that created Call of Duty, using Salesforce.com’s suite of social enterprise tools to tap into Activision’s growing legions of gamers. The tools, such as Radian6, which builds databases of social media streams refined by topic, let Activision employees discover game errors that gamers are reporting on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; refer those problems internally to networks of employees and developers; and send solutions back out to gamers where they’re posting and reading messages–all in real time.
- HP is using social enterprise technology to enhance its marketing support efforts, using Site.com, to create databases on the fly to help customers through technical issues and promote new options to buy more from HP.
“The way to improve the experience with customers is to start improving the experience with employees, said HP Executive Vice President, John Hinshaw in a video clip shown to the audience.
If the audience got any message, it’s that having a socially-interactive and engaged enterprise is essential to moving forward productively in an increasingly socially-networked world.