Some years ago, platforms for online communities were the domain of open source platforms like Joomla or Drupal. Since then, platforms have evolved significantly in their technological sophistication and they now offer a standard set of features, provided and supported by many different organisations.
Experience has shown that businesses use digital communities for a variety of reasons, but mostly they all seek two overarching benefits – with the help of their digital community, they want all their vital business tasks to be accomplished in a more cost-effective way and faster than before.
From a technology perspective, communities are not so complex, but the human aspect is the issue that makes them challenging.
For many years, the community software market was in a relatively steady state. However, today we have Salesforce and the associated Community Cloud, both of which have really shaken up that market.
Online communities require an effective platform and Salesforce provides it
From the very beginning, some people were sure that digital communities could deliver strategic outcomes. Since then, one thing has become clear to community users – to succeed, you need to have a great platform for your online community.
The needs of online communities have matured significantly. Businesses started to invest in social engagement, whilst digital communities moved from an open source model to commercial SaaS offerings.
Customer opinion is extremely important to business success today. Online communities have to be more sophisticated than ever before and that requires platforms with advanced features like:
- Support for specific uses according to business needs
- Features to meet customer needs
- Support for various localities
- Responsive UE of high quality
- Standard IT support and maintenance
Today, Salesforce is a market leader and demonstrates consistent interest in social business and its capabilities. The company works with CRM space and confidently implements its SaaS products, covering almost all aspects of digital business. Salesforce founder, Marc Benioff has always promoted his vision of business – the capabilities of social business are extremely important for stakeholder engagement and they must be used to achieve success.
Community Cloud Ambitions
To stay one step ahead, Salesforce works closely with social media and businesses that gather customers’ opinions. One of the best products for social media on the enterprise level so far is Community Cloud, launched last year with a great fanfare.
The previous great Salesforce discovery – Chatter – is effective for communication within Salesforce products, but it is not really capable of independent online communication between customers and employees, or with business partners and directors within other organisations.
Community Cloud is another ambitious product from Salesforce. It provides a new capability for businesses – the ability to set up and operate online communities. The product is designed for those who seek to develop deeper engagement with their audience and are searching for the key factors that influence them.
Online customer experience is a tough thing to get right. But it is key to a number of benefits and to achieving higher revenue. Customers are valuable and Community Cloud is a product that leads to higher customer engagement and satisfaction.
Salesforce is a customer-centric SaaS giant and Community Cloud, allied with the large user base of Salesforce customers, will prove itself to be a primary player in the market of online communities over the next few years.