As a Platform Evangelist at salesforce.com I have the enviable job of evaluating various technologies and how they relate to the Force.com platform. Part of my recent exploration has been around the possibility of leveraging social networking for the enterprise, which has led me to explore many social networking technologies, including OpenSocial.
Social and professional networking revolve around people. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is also all about people, but with a bit of formality around the relationships between the people. In my CRM system, I have friends and colleagues, but I also have relationships with customers and potential customers (contacts and leads in the CRM parlance) that may be friends, professional acquaintances, or complete strangers.
Now, understanding that I have these formal and informal relationships, how do I combine the two in a way that respects all the aspects or characteristics of these relationships? That's a big question.
The Force.com platform allows you to address this question by leveraging social networks at the business logic level. That means your integration with a social network is not limited to users viewing apps on a page. Using OpenSocial's REST APIs, you can create solutions that work their magic behind the scenes, allowing true innovation in developing enterprise applications that leverage social and professional networks.
Salesforce.com is one of several companies building technology to help bring social elements to the enterprise. Next week at Google I/O several of us will be participating in an OpenSocial in the Enterprise panel where we (and you!) can help move this field forward. Come challenge us with your own thought-provoking questions about mixing social and enterprise. You can even start posting your questions now on this Q&A page and we'll address them next week.
Posted by Dave Carroll, Platform Evangelist - Salesforce.com