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Salesforce “Social Enterprise” Backlash Going Global


August 15, 2012

Doug Hadden, VP Products

I referred earlier last week to an on-going dispute between social enterprises and the attempt by to trademark the term “social enterprise“. Companies that use social technology are not “social enterprises”. Companies that have products and services to address social problems are “social enterprises” – as they have been for over a decade according to the UK Social Enterprise Coalition.

It all seem silly when you think that Salesforce has strong support for non-profits and wide adoption among social enterprises (i.e. UK Social Enterprise Coalition and FreeBalance for starters.)

But, it’s mind boggling to think that Salesforce doesn’t want to engage the community socially on social media. That’s Salesforce – the company that is trying to tout social, social collaboration, social integration, mobile social, social gamification etc. Irony has no bounds.

Ironic given that Salesforce is a CRM company and is giving up the opportunity to engage a community and drive sales. (Perhaps after admitting that someone didn’t look at Wikipedia.)

Case in point: there’s a hash tag and logo with active tweeting – #notinourname.

Case in point: I responded to an interesting post on the Salesforce blog with ideas about the intersection of business process and social and added my view on this issue. The first part was answered. Despite additional comments around social enterprise: silence (so far).

Case in point: video to draw out Marc Benioff. Maybe it would be more exciting for Benioff to consider whether it is the “true social enterprise” or “false social enterprise” a la “false cloud” controversy.

How social is this protest? How global? (We’re global.) My sense is that there is social momentum. And, it’s not helping the Salesforce brand.


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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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