This is a cross post from www.cloud4good.com

 

Nearly 30,000 attendees from across the globe joined the cloud at the biggest and best Dreamforce yet! This was also one of the largest nonprofit technology conferences with hundreds of nonprofit attendees and dozens of nonprofit-themed sessions.

 

Salesforce.com made some major announcements, including expanding their goal of enterprise-wide collaboration, spinning off of the database layer and acquiring an open-sourced, development platform company.

For those of you who could not make it to San Francisco this year, I wanted to recap some of the top announcements from the conference.  Here are my top 4:

 

1. Free Chatter – With Chatter Free, administrators can permit existing salesforce.com users to invite others within their organizations to utilize Chatter, in the same way Facebook users can invite friends to join their social networks.  Chatter Free provides enterprise-wide social collaboration capabilities, including:

  • Profiles
  • Status Updates
  • Real-Time Feeds
  • File Sharing
  • Groups
  • Filters
  • Invitations
  • Chatter Mobile
  • Chatter Desktop

This means that your ENTIRE CAMPUS can be on Chatter, not to mention volunteers and board members.

 

 

2. Database.com – Salesforce.com has unbundled the database layer of the Force.com platform to create a new standalone system that offers a point of entry to Salesforce.com’s Platform as a Service environment.  The standalone Database.com capabilities are being offered to respond to the changing way in which applications and databases are being architected in a more pluralistic fashion in the Cloud.  Marc Benihoff, Salesforce.com’s CEO, said that their goal is to democraticize database development and give their customers and partners another reason to expand their use of the Force.com platform.

 

 

What is the difference between Force.com and database.com?

Force.com is an application development platform. Database.com provides database services only. All access to the database is programmed through Salesforce.com APIs. Database.com does not include the Force.com development platform so there is no point-and-click application development, no home page, no chatter UI, no reports/dashboard, workflow, etc. All user interfaces must be built by a developer using their development platform of choice.

Learn more here: http://www.database.com/

 

3. Siteforce – A revolutionary way to build pixel perfect websites without code on Salesforce Sites.

Building websites today is slow and painful, with continual requests for new landing pages, new products and new campaigns.

Siteforce makes it easy to create new pages, manage content, and reuse pre-built components, all in real-time. And, websites built on Siteforce benefit from running on Salesforce.com’s trusted global infrastructure. Siteforce will be available in spring 2011.

 

4. Heroku Acquisition –  Heroku is the fastest-growing Internet-based system for applications written in the Ruby programming language. The Heroku acquisition and Database.com are both geared to the new world of social, mobile apps and help will give Salesforce.com customers extreme agility in developing new types of custom applications.

Learn more here: http://heroku.com/

Heroku

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This month’s round-up includes tips for improving your organization’s Facebook page, measuring your social networks effectiveness, an introduction to Salesfroce Chatter, and a few good tips for writing an email. I am also including good tools from Google that may help you consider moving to the “cloud”. And there is a fun surprise at the end 🙂

  1. Everybody is on Facebook (did you Join Cloud for Good on Facebook?), but how do you create a Facebook presence? Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0, has five good tips. Her bottom line is: get creative, collaborate, and be aggressive.
  2. However, attracting new fans is not enough. What Does Your Facebook Funnel Look Like? Here are a few good ways to measure the effectiveness of your online communications?
  3. Salesforce.com’s Chatter is here and everybody is talking (and writing) about it. It is definitely number 1 in my Top 5 Salesforce.com Summer ’10 Release Features.
  4. Here is a post that I would really like to forward to a few colleagues (and family members), it’s called “I don’t have time to read your email”. We all know that this is a very painful issue! She has a few good tips to help improve your organization’s newsletter.
  5. Google released many new features this month, however, my favorite one is the ability to try Google Docs without a Google Apps account. They made my life easier! Explaining Google Docs can be a challenging task: they have great video tutorials but people need to “play” with it in order to really understand “real time collaboration” and “the cloud”. Google launched a new site that allows users to try full-fledged versions of its word processor, spreadsheet, and drawing tool without a Google account.
  6. Still not sure why you should move to the cloud? Google created the Go Google cloud calculator that lets you explore your potential savings in an easy-to-understand way. I love it!
  7. With your extra time you can play some vintage video games online, like Supper Mario and the King’s Quest.

Salesforce Summer 10 Logo

Salesforce Summer ’10 release is here and is even better than before. Here are my top 5 favorite features from the new release.

1. Chatter

What is Chatter? Chatter is a collaboration application that can help you join forces with your co-workers, the applications in with which you work, and the content on which you work, in real-time. For example, your development team can use chatter to share updates and exchange information directly on the Donations records – no more endless email exchange (did you send the thank you letter? Did we receive the donation? Etc…)

To enable Chatter:

Setup | Customize | Chatter | Settings

Note:

  • To turn on Chatter, the new user interface is required.
  • All users have Chatter profiles with a personal photo, contact information, and professional experience.
  • The People Tab provides a list of all users.
  • Feeds provide real-time information (just like Facebook…i.e when a person changes a status on Facebook, you get notified. For Chatter, when collaborating on a document and your coworkers complete a thank you email, you get notified with a status update immediately. )

2. Cloud Scheduler

Wow! This will make my life easier! The Cloud Scheduler allows users to propose multiple meeting times – this should reduce all the back and forth communication when scheduling a multi-attendance meeting. You can let Salesforce propose meeting times, based on the Salesforce users’ calendar (it should be up-to-date!), or select your own meeting times.

To enable the Cloud Scheduler:

  1. Setup | Customize | Activities | Activity Settings  and click on Show Requested Meetings in Calendar Section.
  2. Add the new Meeting Request button to the page layouts for Contacts and Leads.

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3. Campaigns

More control over the Campaign Members object. For example, with cross-object formula fields it is now possible to display information from Leads, Contacts or Organizations on the Campaign Members object.

4. Answers Available in Force.com Sites!

Force.com Sites allows people create public websites and applications that are directly integrated with your Salesforce database. We have already delivered several Site based solutions for nonprofits, such as a fully featured university admission process (we also used Salesforce Customer Portal) and program enrollment forms.

Now, it is possible to expose the Answers community on Sites as well! The new release even enables the moderator to escalate a question into a case or promote a reply to an article. Salesforce has been using Answers for a while now. Check it out!

5. Last but not least, Drag-and-Drop Dashboards

Dashboards are great, but they can take time to create. With the new release most dashboard customizations happen on a single screen, therefore, it makes it easier for administrators to edit dashboards and minimize the time that it takes to create a new dashboards. The builder layout is a completely new way of creating dashboards and was very much-needed.

Note: Your profile should include “Drag-and-Drop Dashboard Builder”

Release Resources:

Summer ‘10 Release Preview
Summer ‘10 Release Webinar
Summer ’10 Release Notes
Developer Preview
Spring ’10 Release
Summer ’10 Release Training
Information about the release dates