behemoth Salesforce.com is proving its agility with an about face on its Chatterbox platform. The company is repositioning its enterprise
file system as Salesforce Files, embracing the need to collaborate with other popular online file storage systems.
The new Files app promises to help companies connect any file to any business seamlessly from any device. Companies can unlock files from third-party repositories -- including Dropbox, Box and Google Drive and SharePoint -- and make them mobile and social on the Salesforce.com platform.
"Employees use a patchwork of disconnected file repositories trying to get work done," said Nasi Jazayeri, executive vice president and general manager at Salesforce Chatter. "Salesforce Files changes the game for our customers because they can now connect any file, no matter where it is stored, to their businesses and make it mobile and social, all on a single, trusted platform."
What Files Makes Possible
Files solves a legitimate problem that many competitors are working to address. That's because digital files are at the heart of every business process -- they are the presentations given to customers, the FAQs that enable self-service, the pricing and product specifications distributed to partners. And they are scattered across disconnected systems, such as on-premise and cloud repositories or locally on devices, which are separated from sales, service, marketing and other critical business processes. Sometimes, finding the file you need is like a treasure hunt.
With Salesforce Files, a remote sales rep can ask for support from competitive experts who can instantly share the latest FAQs. An onsite service agent can access the latest tech specs to close a case quickly, from a mobile device. Creative briefs, advertising copy and brand assets can be shared on one record so the global marketing team can easily manage every step of the campaign. And an interviewer can screen a candidate's resume and provide feedback right from his phone to accelerate an employment offer.
"The speed of innovation in the healthcare arena is picking up dramatically," said Jonathan Green, VP of Information Technologies, DenMat. "DenMat's adoption of Salesforce Files allows us to ensure that our customers, our employees and our partners all have access to the right file, at the right time in a highly secure and scalable manner. We can now spend more time innovating on new technologies and growing our business."
Can Files Catch the Leaders?
We turned to Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, to get his thoughts on the made-over Chatterbox. He told us Files seems to offer more freedom and autonomy and Salesforce may look once again to create a disruptive freemium or low-cost service to challenge more established vendors.
"This time around is different because file sharing is a market space that is being dominated by a couple of very large players that have already embraced the freemium model. I'm talking Google and Microsoft here," Shimmin said.
"There is also a raft of smaller players -- some dedicated to consumers and some dedicated to the enterprise -- that have been hitting this market hard over the last year and a half. So unless Salesforce has made a pretty phenomenal leap forward in terms of functionality, it's going take the company some time to capitalize on this move," he added.
Salesforce Files is currently available in private beta. Pricing will be announced at the time of general availability.