Facebook & Salesforce - What Does it Mean?

Two weeks ago, at their annual Dreamforce Conference, Facebook and Salesforce.com announced that they had jointly developed technology that will integrate within pages on the popular social networking site the enterprise apps from the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendor. As an example of this integration, they demonstrated an app that can leverage the social aspects of Facebook to determine what “friends” on the service might be possible candidates for a job listing. As a result, recruiters can more easily reach a larger number of more qualified candidates and job seekers can be notified of potentially interesting job opportunities.  The app will automatically log where the referral came from and credit the friend with the referral.  Future integration with LinkedIn and MySpace should be forthcoming.

Besides improving the recruiting and job seeking process, there are 3 other aspects of this collaboration that are noteworthy and bring up possible applications in the EDA space.

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First, as stated in Denis Pombriant’s CRM blog,

using Facebook’s widgets and up-to-date demographic data, companies can develop applications that leverage customer knowledge that enables them to better sponsor and understand communities of interest without the expensive and time-consuming effort of keeping a customer list current. By definition, a user of Facebook or other social site will keep his or her data current out of necessity, and this will move us a long way toward relieving the problems associated with aging lists and duplicate entries.”

Just as recruiters can find better potential job candidates, EDA vendors and design services companies can find better potential customers and clients. If you are a small EDA company that already uses their software, why not build an app on Force.com that links to Facebook or LinkedIn to find potential customers? Not for the purpose of spamming them (please!!!), but for the purpose of identifying those who might truly benefit from your products and services so you can contact them directly. Alternatively, if you’re not a Salesforce.com customer, I’m sure that James Colgan would point out that there is also the professional user community at Xuropa that can serve a similar purpose. You could contact your prospect as follows:

“Hi Joe. My name is Harry Gries and I’m an independent ASIC Methodology Consultant. I noticed from your public profile that you are currently designing an extremely complex ASICs with some leading edge technologies and tools. Personally, I have over 20 years experience (over 14 years in the EDA industry) working with advanced technologies and methodologies and have helped several clients identify the right tools to use and put together working methodologies. If you feel you might have need for someone like me, please contact me through my profile.  Or, if you feel someone else might be interested, please pass on my contact info. Thanks for your time, Harry”.

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The second interesting aspect is the increasingly acknowledged business application and utility of social media. Just today I reminisced with a co-worker about the early days of the Internet when web sites were blocked because employees would “waste time” surfing the net. He remarked that today, if we were to block access to the internet, we’d have legitimate outcries that employees could not get their job done. The internet has become indispensible, for googling a technical term, for accessing product information and users’ experiences, for keeping up-to-date on industry news and technical breakthroughs. I expect that social media sites, such as Facebook, will soon be acknowledged as just as indispensible as more traditional web sites today.

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The third and final  interesting aspect is how the #4 provider in the CRM industry is “upsetting the applecart”. Continuing from Denis Pombriant’s CRM blog,

“…it was not any of the larger and older (and richer) software giants that made the announcement. Instead, it was a relative newcomer yet to celebrate its 10th birthday, and with revenues only a fraction of Oracle, SAP, or Microsoft, that made the news.

So why didn’t Oracle, SAP, or Microsoft, come to this conclusion and build a product? A good question. The answer rests less on technology — any of them could develop the technology — and more on temperament. Of the four companies, only Salesforce.com has an on-demand or Software as a Service vision not clouded by the need to preserve a massive legacy code base and the considerable revenue stream it represents. In short, Salesforce.com did this because it could and because it has a clear understanding of the future of computing.”

Three big industry leaders … the need to preserve a revenue stream … sound familiar?

harry the ASIC guy

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3 Responses to “Facebook & Salesforce - What Does it Mean?”

  1. James Colgan Says:

    Hello Harry,

    Great post - this is right in line with some recent posts of mine about leveraging the web to expand a company’s reach and lower costs of business. (The Global Market of Electronic Design and Save Budget Using Xuropa)

    As you can imagine, we’ve taken a long hard look at FaceBook and do actually use it to a small degree for marketing. But my conclusion is that it’s not a fit for our industry. Or even most industries for that matter.

    It’s founding and its heart and soul are consumer facing. The interactions are personal, the style is informal and many of the tools are frivolous.

    When engaging an online strategy, brand is paramount. An association with FaceBook would definitely have an impact on a company’s brand.

    And a clarification - Xuropa is open when it comes to CRM integration and have clients that use Salesforce.com. We’re also open to LinkedIn as well and have tools that leverage that network. We’re not interested in re-inventing the wheel, just integrating and adding value for our industry.

  2. Ian Gilyeat Says:

    This is a nice post but also naive. Companies like Microsoft, SAP and Oracle protect their revenue streams because they have an obligation to their shareholders to do so. There are many executives that would love the freedom to just ignore the anchors of legacy systems and installed base customers and chase the rainbows of new technology and business models. However, they have financial responsibilities that keep them well grounded in meeting the needs of not only customers but also shareholders - e.g. the owners of the company.

    On to the second point, just because you participate in a social network does not mean you keep your profile information accurate and current. Many people that I know only update their profile when it is self-serving to meet their personal needs. In addition, many people participate in multiple social networks and eventually discover that they maintain only one or two. The other two, three or four, etc that they initially used become neglected - even more so than the one or two that they actively use - and the information ages, just like on any other list. Unless the owners of the social networks and utilities make the recency of updates to profile information available to users of that information, user profile information will became less useful, just like many lists do in the open list rental market when they age and are not updated.

  3. Harry the ASIC guy Says:

    Hi Ian and James,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Ian, addressing your comment that “companies like Microsoft, SAP and Oracle protect their revenue streams because they have an obligation to their shareholders to do so”, I agree that this is their obligation. But just like a football team with a lead in the 4th quarter playing it safe, they leave themselves vulnerable to the opponent that has nothing left to lose. I can think of three other companies that tried to take care of their shareholders by playing it safe … GM, Ford, and Chrysler.

    Addressing your comment that social network profile data is not kept current, I can tell you that I keep my LinkedIn profile more current than I ever kept my resume. That’s because I consider LinkedIn to be my most important professional social network, I know that my profile is always visible and I never know who might be looking at it. I agree though that I have other profiles that I have not been as diligent in keeping up-to-date.

    On a similar note, I’ll concede James’ comment that Facebook may not best tool for professional networking, e.g. as compared to LinkedIn. Still, you never know who you might meet where and some of the best opportunities might come out of totally different industries, so even Facebook has some value.

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