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Appirio Allows Companies to Leverage Facebook to Manage Customer Relationships

October 23, 2008

Appirio has announced today that Facebook (News - Alert) is now ready to appeal to the business class. The company is introducing an application that allow business professionals to use their social network to get their job done.

Considering the increased use of Facebook in the office, leveraging its capability to actually drive performance rather than reduce productivity is certainly a positive thing that is likely to help drive deployment.

The new product from Appirio, MyFriends@Work, connects the sophisticated CRM capabilities of salesforce.com with the viral social networking capabilities enabled through Facebook Platform.

This collaboration allows users access to the powerful business tool to deepen customer relationships and assist with sales and marketing efforts. MyFriends@Work is a free application from Appirio available on Facebook  
(http://apps.facebook.com/myfriendsatwork/) or through www.appirio.com/facebook.

Facebook has exploded in the market to become the Internet’s leading social utility. By connecting Facebook’s 110 million users with an enterprise’s core business applications can help both organizations and individuals to capture the power of social networking to contribute to the business’ bottom line.

MyFriends@Work provides alerts to employees when their Facebook friends do business with their company. This application enables these individuals to act on their knowledge to aid sales, nurture leads and impact the customer service.
 
"Appirio wants to help organizations of all sizes use social networks in every area of their business to more effectively promote their brand, generate new business and even find new employees," said Ryan Nichols, vice president of product management at Appirio, in a Thursday statement.
 
"Introducing the 110 million users on Facebook to MyFriends@Work and giving employees an easy way to connect with friends who are doing business with their company, is a great first step in this larger vision."
 
Serena Software is an Appirio customer and one of the first enterprises to embrace Facebook as an effective method for improving collaboration and communication internally and with customers.
 
"Our ability to reach out and create communities has helped Serena lead a revolution in on-demand application development and Facebook has greatly contributed to this," said Rene Bonvanie, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, partner programs and online services at Serena, in the Thursday statement.
 
"Appirio's connection of Facebook to SaaS (News - Alert) business applications will allow more companies to use social networks and measure how they can impact their business."

While this platform provides an excellent way for companies to leverage the power of Facebook, there are certain dangers in relying on this capability. For one, it promotes the extended use of this platform in the workplace, which can be less than productive.

Secondly, it could easily provide the employee with a crutch where he or she is relying exclusively on their Facebook application to manage those relationships, which can be a detriment in the long run.

As with any application that is designed to make the workplace more productive, it must be properly implemented and managed in order to ensure that it delivers the benefits promised, instead of hindering productivity.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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