Salesforce now lets companies easily share data — passively

updatedSalesforce’s customers can now use a feature to easily share data with each other about customers and products.

You might yawn, and point to all the other ways to share and communicate information, such as email, or other content management software. But Salesforce’s advantage is that many companies already use it as their customer relations management software, and all they have to do is turn on a switch, and their data is shared passively with selected partners, without having to do anything.

Dell and Doubleclick are two early subscribers to the service, called “Salesforce to Salesforce.” Dell, for example, works together with a large number of company IT departments, and can use this software to more efficiently track computer sales and repairs with these customers. DoubleClick uses the service to coordinate information about advertisers with the many advertising agencies it works with.

The company says the interface is sort of like Facebook, which lets individuals share personal information to others in their network.

You can decide when and how much information will be shared with partner companies. Information is automatically synchronized between companies.

To use the service, log in to Salesforce and search for contacts or other information, then click to create the connection. The recipient receives an email which lets them choose to accept what you sent. Once they accept, the information will show up for both companies.

The service is customizable to account for what it calls “changing business relationships” — just like you might block an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend from seeing all of your Facebook profile information. One month, you may want to share strategic data about sales leads with a partner. The next month, you may find yourself competing against the partner, and decide not to share with them.

Salesforce charges a company $100 a month to connect with another company. The invited company doesn’t have to pay.

It is immediately available to all of the 38,100 customer companies that already use Salesforce.com — and the nearly one million users, in total, within those companies. Enterprise and Unlimited Edition customers must pay an additional fee of $1,200 per year, per connection.

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