Live blog: Cloud2 event

I’m at’s Cloud2 event this morning. I’ll be doing my best to fill you in on what goes on while CEO Marc Benioff speaks. Edit: Others are speaking as well, you’ll see when the speaker changes.

12:03 — And, we’re closing up. Chatter will be included for all customers by this summer.

11:55 — Three vendors are up doing demonstrations of new apps on the AppExchange2: Narinder Singh of Appirio, Dave Yarnold of ServiceMax, and Brian Bell of Computer Associates.

11:42 — Benioff is back. He’s with Andy Brown, head of strategy, architecture and optimization at Bank of America, talking about how the Chatter/Cloud2 platform helps his company. “We need to look at it in terms of being present where our customers are. We need to have the right level of capabilities and automation in all those channels.

“With BOA, it’s multiple businesses touching the same customer through different channels,” he notes. “We’re able to close a large number of those issues because there’s a knowledge base around all the different ones.”

11:34 — A more urgent customer issue is demonstrated. A company with 1,000 Dell laptops can’t get them to work with mini-projectors. A number of different service agents are following the case, but can’t find a solution. So, they escalate it, adding followers in the engineering department, QA and project management.

The engineer now sees this issue in his Chatter feed. A driver fix is required, and when he issues the fix, he shares it in the feed as well. Now, the sales agent can send this information to the people working on the support case. The QA person can test it, for example; and the service agent can close the case.

And, it can be sent through any channel — including Twitter. Plus, the solution is now part of the knowledge base. So, when someone Tweets @askdell with a similar resolution/projector problem, a mini-link can be sent right back to that customer through Twitter, after much less investigation.

11:27 — The collaborative customer service cloud has 250 beta customers at this point. It allows cross-silo collaboration on customer service requests no matter what channel they come in through. Darcy and Swensrud are back to demonstrate. Phone, e-mail, chat, Twitter and Facebook are displayed by name right at the top as sources.

A phone call has come in from a Dell customer who wants to upgrade her memory. A new case is created in the cloud program, and articles with potential solutions are attached to the case by people in the know. Answers can then be relayed via phone or other channels.

11:20 — Penny Neferis, director of care & emergency response for JetBlue, comes on to talk about this customer experience aspect of the Salesforce platform. “We really pride ourselves on customer service,” she says. Her position involves crisis management. “It’s a tough topic to talk about, but airlines have to be prepared for a plane crash. We tailor it and use it for other things, but are focused on an aircraft accident.”

“We’d get thousands and thousands of calls if we were to have an accident, and we need to be prepared for someone who’s trying to find their son,” she says. The company wanted a platform to put in passenger manifests, TrueBlue numbers, and other customer data so that in the event of an accident, the company will be able to respond as quickly as possible. “We haven’t had to use it yet,” she notes.

JetBlue also put the 400-500 checklists and 258-page emergency manual into Salesforce Chatter as well, so it would be that much easier to collaborate when emergency response is required, she adds.

11:13 — Alex Dayon, SVP of CRM comes up to talk about how customers’ experiences will change. Today customers already use Facebook, Twitter, social networks, and mobile devices, he says, and customer interaction isn’t going to occur at the traditional phone call center. Edit: To be clear, the old call center-centric world is still supported with the new platform.

11:09 — Chatter will be generally available this year. Marc Benioff is back on stage now.

11:06 — Brand DuBose, management director for Saatchi & Saatchi, discussing how he has used Salesforce before and how it’s changing now with Chatter.

11:04 — A demonstration on how the Chatter feed prevents people from being left out if they need to see certain things, but also keeps employees from spamming each other with huge files. Edit: Also, you can see as soon as things have been delivered to targets, including prospects.

11:03 — Demonstration using the iPad. Man, is that thing nifty. Still might need to bake a little longer IMO — but every time I see one my interest is piqued further.

11:00 — Everything in a feed is a hyperlink. Users can click on any aspect of a sale or customer contact and see what’s going on with it from all angles — who’s working on it, what the bids and competitors are, etc.

10:58 — Dan Darcy comes on stage to join Swensrud and demonstrates the Sales Cloud. Now, everyone has a profile a la Facebook, but for business. Helps people connect within the business and see status updates about what’s going on on the business side. Followers can see what sales staff are working on and offer help. Also, you can follow more than just other people. Documents like a price list can be followed so users can see what’s happening on the nitty-gritty side of their business. Comments can also be added.

10:54 — Sales Cloud 2 “just works like Facebook. No one needs to go to school to learn it,” Swensrud says.

10:51 — Kraig Swensrud, SVP of product marketing, takes the stage to talk about the “Chatter Collaboration Cloud.”

10:46 — Benioff is showing how he runs Salesforce (the company, not the program. Though he uses the platform, of course) from his iPhone. The point: Desktop computing is on its way out. We are in the “new desktopless world,” he says.

10:42 — More illustrating of the difference between Clouds 1 and 2. Pull (1) vs. Push (2) is the most interesting to me — information and questions and complaints come in real time from customers, which brands must manage on the fly. 

10:38 — Perhaps a better illustration: Cloud 1 = Amazon, Google, eBay; Cloud 2 = YouTube, Twitter, Facebook

10:33 — After an overview of Salesforce’s business, Benioff discussing “10-year computing cycles.” Right now we are moving from desktop Internet computing to mobile Internet computing, he says. This is the “Cloud2” eponymous with the event. Social networking users now surpass e-mail users as of 7/09 Morgan Stanley research, he notes.

10:22 — More Foo Fighters as Benioff takes the stage.

10:17 — The Foo Fighters are playing (on a recording, not live) as people file in. Keynote was supposed to start at 10, but there’s still a very long line of anxious registrants. It’s a beautiful day here in New York and everyone is in a great mood — surely helped by the rock-concert like atmosphere.

The big news is that is extending its Salesforce Chatter beta to more than 500 companies. Chatter is incorporated into its Cloud2 platform. It’s also launched a new AppExchange center, with a heavy focus on social media apps.

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