Friday, November 13, 2015

What is the Community Cloud?

As you likely notice, SalesForce is really pushing the idea of clouds for their products. For example, the core SalesForce CRM you are likely well versed in comes with the Sales Cloud (opportunities, price books, etc.) and the Service Cloud (cases, entitlements, Milestone's, etc).  But there are also so many other clouds. Two of the other big ones are the Community and Marketing Cloud. 

The Community Cloud is designed to help businesses, using SalesForce, to be able to create audiences/communities of users for a common purpose. For example, for a university using SalesForce, they could create a community of their Alumni or Students. Or a company like Phillips, can create communities for their fans of products they make. 

The whole idea with the SalesForce Community is to make it easier to share, but also deflect small issues from becoming large issues that frustrate customers. For example, in a SalesForce community you can create a Q&A area so users can ask one another questions - like how did you get product x to interact with a Product Y. With the Internet of things, this is important as items no longer live in silos but people expect them to integrate with their world and technology. So by having a Q&A area users can help one another, but also learn from one another. Now, of course, the Community would also have documentation available that the company has published. That way customers have an official source to go to rather than trolling around the bulletin boards. And of course, customers can just submit cases to your support team of none of the other resources have answered their questions. This at least gives them a way to hopefully get support if none of the self service help gave them what they needed. 

With the SalesForce Community product, they give you a basic few templates that you can then customise to your businesses need with Apex, VisualForce and HTML. Then with the help of lightning components, you can then add pre built components to your community with ease and enhance what you offer. 

Setting up a new community is fairly easy and the pricing is based on the number of logins you expect. If you consistently go over that number of logins you may have to pay more, but if you happen to just have one busy month on your community you are not likely to be penalised.

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