Salesforce Takes Social and the Cloud in a New Direction

At the recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) CEO and founder Marc Benioff announced a line of products that will help take the company in a new direction. Traditionally entrenched in sales process and customer relationship management software, Salesforce is offering a new service called Marketing Cloud, which tracks the social media conversation surrounding a business.

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“Are you and your company going through a social revolution?” Benioff asked the Dreamforce audience. “We see your customers and your employees and your partners are all connected.” Salesforce also announced a human resources management service through Work.com. To round out its bid to thoroughly integrate with businesses, it even presented a Google Drive and Dropbox challenger called Chatterbox.

Salesforce has seen a lot of success since it was founded in 1999. The company pulls in $2.64 billion in revenue and posted year-over-year growth of 34 percent. However, enterprise computing giants like Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) and SAP (NYSE:SAP) dominate the software-as-a-service market – estimated to grow 17.9 percent to $14.5 billion this year – and present a roadblock to companies like Salesforce. This new product line is meant to help the company grow despite the competition, but the fight may just be getting started.

Social integration with enterprise software is on everybody’s “hot this season” list. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) bought social networking company Yammer in July. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) recently acquired Wildfire, a company that could compete with Marketing Cloud. Even Oracle stepped up when it purchased Virtue, a social media marketing company. Companies are investing billions in anything that could help them claim SaaS market share as the industry shifts toward social and the cloud.

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