Salesforce.com has renamed Chatterbox, the file-sharing service it launched as a competitor to Box and other services. The new service is called Salesforce Files and this time the company is positioning it as a way to connect files from internal and external sources, such as Google Drive, SharePoint and Documentum.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff unveiled Chatterbox at TechCrunch Disrupt last year. It was originally designed for companies to share files and collaborate, but it did not offer integration with third-party services, which is what customers said would be more useful and fit with their Salesforce integrations, said Nasi Jazayeri, EVP and GM of Salesforce Chatter at a press event today. For background, Chatter is the activity stream service that Salesforce has developed and has made a core aspect of its technology offering. The Chatterbox name is a portmanteau combing the Chatter brand name with “box”which was largely viewed as a shot across the bow at the Box service.
The Salesforce Files technology gathers files from internal and third-party services and integrates them all in one place. Much of the technology is borrowed from EntropySoft, a company Salesforce acquired in February. The EntropySoft technology offered a network of connectors that orchestrates the integration of files from enterprise content management and file-sharing services. These connectors also integrate with repositories and applications. It’s that integration with applications such as Chatter that will be instrumental to the success of Salesforce Files.
The service is not yet available and no launch date has been set, showing that this is a product going through a major reboot. It was announced last year but this is the first time the company has made a major announcement about the service. Adding to the skepticism is the lack of integration Chatterbox has with cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Salesforce Files is reflective of the company’s efforts to be the CRM system of record for the enterprise. Companies create all sorts of documents that need to be accessed under any variety of use cases. Dropbox, Box and services like Egnyte all offer this capability and have a lead in the market. Microsoft is taking a similar approach to Salesforce by integrating Yammer with its storage service formerly known as SkyDrive, Office365 and other services. Salesforce has its massive platform to leverage but the news today reflects a service going through a major transition and no proof of any significant presence in the market.