Cloud computing, for better or worse, is a hot topic right now. We recently took a look at Salesforce Content, an integrated content management system (CMS) for sales teams using salesforce.com.
In an effort to make knowledge workers more efficient, Salesforce has created a unified workspace where the user can access content from multiple sources, including a cloud-based repository that is part of the Salesforce.com platform. This keeps the knowledge worker from having to open other applications when he needs to locate a piece of content. Integration with Google Docs, for example, allows documents to be created and opened from within the Salesforce user interface without having to leave the environment. In addition to the content residing in the cloud, the system can also access content from other repositories via pointers.
When searching, users have the ability to view results based on factors such as high ratings by their peers or numbers of downloads. The results can be further refined though custom fields that sort content based on relevance and user defined parameters. Additionally, the knowledge worker can subscribe to content based on a variety of factors, including authors, topics, and tags. When new content that fits the parameters is added, the knowledge worker receives an e-mail notification linking him to the content in the repository.
Salesforce.com has added other new content management functionality to the platform that increases knowledge worker efficiency. To facilitate the assembly of slide presentations the knowledge worker can search through existing slides from across the organization to find relevant material. Once the slides are found, they can be assembled into slide decks through a drag-and-drop interface, without having to download or copy and paste. Salesforce Content also features a preview option for PowerPoint, Word, and Excel documents that allows the user to see the content without downloading it. Additionally, the content can be sent via e-mail as a hyperlink, without the actual file being attached. Once the material is sent out, the sender can track it to see when the link was opened, when and if the file was downloaded, how long it was viewed for, and, if need be, even discontinue access to the material.
The addition of CMS functionality to the Salesforce platform is a big step in the right direction towards building a true Collaborative Business Environment, a workspace for the knowledge worker that supports access to all applications and resources under one virtual roof. Enabling knowledge workers to stay in one environment, create linkages between disparate repositories and Web services, and assemble and distribute content with no downloading or bulky file attachments is laudable, and organizations looking to gain efficiencies for knowledge workers who need to track interaction with multiple parties should give this due consideration.
Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.