Salesforce.com's Expansion of Chatter Takes Chatterbox Into FSS Market

G00239795

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Summary

In response to market demand for enterprise file sync and sharing services and competing offerings, Chatterbox aims to enrich salesforce.com’s social enterprise platform and deliver FSS services in a drop-box-like capability.

News Analysis

Event

On 18 September 2012, during the Dreamforce event, salesforce.com introduced Chatterbox, a file sync and sharing (FSS) storage service that will be part of the company's enterprise social collaboration platform, Chatter. Chatterbox will enter a pilot program during the first half of 2013.

Analysis

Chatterbox will help position salesforce.com as a solution provider for IT organizations seeking to mitigate security challenges by regaining control of data and files shared by employees who currently use consumer FSS in the absence of an enterprise-grade offering. Collaboration-centric and tightly integrated with Chatter, the Chatterbox service will enable customers to build an FSS environment that leverages salesforce.com applications and addresses enterprise FSS requirements.

The widespread use of drop-box-type consumer FSS services has compelled enterprises to seek a similar solution that offers higher security levels, tighter control of access and better integration capabilities. Enterprises are very concerned with the potential for data protection violations, unmanaged content and legal liabilities that could arise from breach of data privacy. Under pressure, IT organizations are actively looking to procure secure public cloud FSS or build on-premises solutions to meet enterprise FSS requirements

In this new and hotly contested market, enterprise capabilities are a work-in-progress with no vendor yet able to meet all the diverse requirements of large IT organizations.

  • Accellion, Egnyte, Mezeo, Oxygen Cloud and other vendors offer enterprise-class capability for those enterprises inclined to build their own FSS environment.

  • Box.net, EMC Syncplicity, Oxygen Cloud/ATT and Citrix (ShareFile) and others offer services geared to enterprises interested in purchasing services.

Chatterbox will enrich salesforce.com's social enterprise platform and help position the company as a competitor to Box.net, Citrix ShareFile and other providers in that space. As the largest cloud service provider, salesforce.com has an installed base of more than 100,000 customers, many of whom are already comfortable with cloud-based services and predisposed to the planned Chatterbox functions. However, those functions have yet to be tested and proven by the market.

Recommendations

Current salesforce.com customers:

  • Demand details from salesforce.com regarding how Chatterbox security features address your requirements.

  • Assess your users’ FSS usage patterns and create metrics for your primary use cases. Apply your primary use cases to your evaluation of Chatterbox.

  • Watch for changes in Chatterbox functionality after the pilot ends.

  • Consider the synergy of salesforce.com’s portfolio of offerings. Find out how Chatterbox would fit into your existing storage infrastructure and its monitoring, reporting and other management tools.

Prospective salesforce.com customers:

  • Evaluate Chatterbox for use cases within your enterprise social collaboration project.

  • If you are looking for a stand-alone FSS service, evaluate alternative offerings in addition to Chatterbox.

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© 2012 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartners research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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