unveiled this week Salesforce Communities, which allows organizations to create private social communities to connect with customers and partners. Salesforce Communities will combine social networking features such as profiles, real-time feeds, trending topics, recommendations and influence measurement, with the business information and processes in the Salesforce customer-relationship management system.

The company says Salesforce Communities, built on the cloud-based Salesforce Platform, enables enterprises to deliver new levels of collaboration and productivity through custom, branded communities.

"Salesforce Communities will enable companies to build stronger, more valuable relationships with customers, partners and employees through custom communities—designed to address and support specific business needs," Mary Wardley, vice president, CRM and Enterprise Applications at research firm IDC, said in a statement. "When delivered within the context of the business process of Salesforce, Communities has the potential to facilitate strategic collaboration across enterprises and with customers and partners above the capabilities of online peer communities, which have the tendency to be either entirely conversational or entirely transactional."

Companies will be able to quickly deploy communities to connect with customers, and create a variety of marketing communities around events and campaigns. They can also connect with partners such as suppliers and distributors to drive more sales through deal registration, access to sales tools and collaboration with experts.

Salesforce Communities is scheduled to be available in limited pilot in fall 2012, and generally available the second half of 2013. Pricing will be announced at general availability.



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