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Salesforce.com CEO says databases should be cloud-based, allow for social interactions

Databases and CRM platforms must harness the same social interactions that consumers have on Facebook and Twitter, said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, in his keynote address at the company’s March 3 Cloudforce 2011 event.

“Collaboration itself is moving to the cloud,” said Benioff. “We’ve seen it with consumers of Facebook and Twitter, but now we’re seeing it with next generation enterprise collaboration services.”

Benioff said on-premise database solutions are expensive and hard to use, and that only large enterprises can afford the servers and drives needed to run advanced systems. He added that small- and medium-sized businesses can build and maintain advanced databases more easily with cloud-based systems.

“Why install, maintain and upgrade your software?” Benioff asked. “Instead, use it right over the Internet. The vast majority of customers can’t afford new next-generation mainframes.”

He referred to smaller enterprises’ ability to run advanced CRM systems in the cloud as “the democratization of cloud computing.”

Benioff’s address focused on Salesforce.com’s Chatter product and how it allows businesses to use the collaborative aspects of social networks within enterprise technology.

“The Facebook imperative is underway,” he said. “We’ve rebuilt [our products to] have feeds and status updates. Our updated database technology has those social models built into the APIs.”

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