One of the caveats about Chatter 2 is that it’s reportedly an internal collaboration tool. In some regard, Microsoft SharePoint is the same. I’ll elaborate more in a minute.
The success of Social Media relies on everyone being on line. And I mean everyone.
That includes your closest friends, business associates, family relatives (who sometimes call to borrow money), and of course people you’ve connected to and have no idea who they are!
Chatter, at the moment, is an internal collaboration tool… sort of.
User, users Everywhere
In my last major implementation of Microsoft SharePoint and SAP (“major” as being defined as a 28 Billion dollar company in a vertical market), the collaboration component of SharePoint went beyond the boundaries. Beyond, meaning non-employees of the company.
I am referring to outsourced parties such as your legal team, press contacts, ad agency, HR recruiting companies, web designer companies. People who you communicate with daily but are not on your payroll (only as expenses!)
Normally with an on-premise Enterprise software and presumable a site license, you simply create users after they have signed the NDA. You can even create email aliases, too, if you have a Global Address List and a nice Sysadmin.
With Salesforce, Chatter is included free whether you have the Group, Professional, or Enterprise license. Otherwise, Chatter costs $15 per user per month for non Salesforce users.
So what happens if you have an ad agency create a PowerPoint presentation for you? Conventional methods includes attaching the 20Mb attachment via email which will fail and make all your MS Exchange Sysadmins cringe.
Other clunky methods include YouSendIt or the latest craze, DropBox. I am old school and I still remember using FTP! It still worked the last time I checked.
Or, you could sign up these users on a non-Salesforce Chatter-only license.
These users would be able to participate in the Chatter feeds. You may have to tweak some permissions or deal with rights issues as currently they would be read-only. They would not be able to edit documents.
As you can see, document management, version control, and ownership changing hands sometimes lies outside your organization.
And that herein lies the challenges with the cloud and Social Media where everyone is connected. Well, almost everyone.
The moral of the story: Collaboration relies on internal and external employees.