Read/Write Web reported yesterday that 'Salesforce.com Brings Web 2.0 To The Enterprise With ContentExchange': Today Salesforce.com announced a new product called Salesforce ContentExchange, a content management product for unstructured data such as email and html. They also publicly announced the acquisition of Koral, a web 2.0 content collaboration platform that was at DEMO07 earlier this year... Koral is a key enabling technology for Salesforce ContentExchange. The new product means that Salesforce.com now manages all types of content in a company - both structured information (e.g. CRM data like contacts and sales information) and unstructured information (office documents, HTML, video/audio files and email, etc). Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com, calls this “another step towards our vision of managing all information on demand”.
So far, Web 2.0 migration into the enterprise world has seemed largely been limited to the notion of enhanced content creation and sharing – for example, using a blog to add a human touch to a vendor/customer or management/employee relationship. Another example is using a wiki to create central repositories of information to which any employee can contribute, thereby exposing previously hidden but useful information. Both blogs and wikis are certainly '2.0' types of tools, and as such they are useful for sharing unstructured information associated with projects and processes. But they do nothing for structured information retrieval.
I think the SalesForce.com ContentExchange nicely reinforces what we at JackBe have been talking about for many months: a new level of ‘2.0 collaboration’ that empowers employees to share, access and interact with disparate information and data, both structured and unstructured. Check out the graph, stolen from one of our sales pitches, for an example. I think it's about delivering on the original promises of what Portals were aimed to do (but largely didn't do), and all in a 100% user-driven way.
Most business and knowledge worker tasks rely on access to the appropriate structured data in real, or near-real time. These information pieces are spread out across many enterprise applications, and databases. We as information workers are trapped in a world of monolithic siloed applications, each with its own login and password, access control policies, and confusing and user interfaces. Furthermore, because information is stored in different locations, the relation between the data is not obvious, and is usually only well understood by the information worker himself. It appears that SalesForce.com aims to change all that.