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Businesses need to embrace the “social revolution,” says Salesforce’s Benioff

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The social networking revolution is “bleeding into our society,” Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff said today, citing the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street as “key moments of transformation” for social networks.

Salesforce, a multi-billion-dollar sales-force automation provider, has obviously recognized this trend and is pushing for businesses to use social media — ideally, the tools integrated into its own offerings — for profit.

Benioff made the remarks during his keynote at the Cloudforce Social Enterprise Tour, the company’s cloud technology event, Thursday in San Francisco. Salesforce is tackling the “social enterprise,” trying to make businesses become more social to keep up with customers’ increasingly social lives.

Benioff discussed the shift from mainframe computing in the 60s to cloud computing in the 90s, all the way to 2011’s “social revolution,” which he says businesses need to embrace to be successful.

Salesforce pushed the importance of its employee social network Chatter, which Benioff said is important for large companies that need workers to stay connected. He highlighted in his keynote that Chatter has reduced employee emails by 30 percent.

In keeping with the theme of social enterprise, Salesforce unveiled two new products at the event, Salesforce Rypple and Salesforce Site.com. Rypple, which was acquired by Salesforce in December 2011, is a social network and employee feedback system for businesses. Site.com is meant to help marketers update company Facebook pages and maintain a consistent “social brand,” meaning how a company presents itself on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites.

George Hu, Salesforce’s chief operating officer, unveiled the re-branded Rypple to the crowd, likening it to playing a game such as Zygna’s Cityville. Hu highlighted LivingSocial, of Rypple’s customers, which has been using the service.

Burberry, LivingSocial, Activision, and HP were used as Salesforce case studies in the presentations, to highlight how each company uses its services and to show off its new products, Site.com and Rypple.

Angela Ahrendts, Burberry’s chief executive rallied Salesforce’s next step saying, “If you don’t have a social enterprise, I don’t know what your business model is in five years.”

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