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SAN FRANCISCO — Flushed with success from the rapid adoption of the Chatter social networking program, kicked off its annual Dreamforce user conference here Aug. 31 by saying businesses of all sizes should get ready to build the “social enterprise.” CEO Marc Benioff says they can do this by using Chatter within the software as a service (SaaS) platform to create social customer profiles, employee social networks, customer social networks and product social networks. This will make it easier for enterprises to share information, answer questions, make deals and keep customers happy, he said.

To support this effort, announced a number of new capabilities for Chatter that will run across the SaaS application platform. These include Chatter Customer Groups, which will allow Chatter users to invite people outside of their organizations to join their chatter groups so they can participate in private secure groups to discuss ideas, solve problems and serve needs.

Chatter Approvals will enable users to take action on any business approval process directly within their Chatter feeds, such as expense forms, travel requests, sales discounts and vacation requests. The requests can include all supporting documents along with comments or approvals required from the management chain.

Another new feature is Chatter Now, which will provide enhanced collaboration features by enabling users to share their screen to chat in context by sharing their screen without leaving chatter to discuss business matters.

The company also announced, which enables users to aggregate contact information of companies and business professionals, particularly crowd-sourced information from, which acquired in May 2010 for $142 million. users will also be able to access company information from Dun & Bradstreet from within

But another significant development of this announcement is it means that customers have the option to store at least some of their data in their own data center, Denis Pombriant, principal analyst with Beagle Research wrote in his blog Sept. 1. The requirement to all data in the cloud was a sticking point for some enterprises concerned about security and retaining full control over corporate data.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Launches ‘Social Enterprise’ Campaign at Dreamforce Show