Looking to make deeper inroads into the public-sector market, Salesforce.com yesterday rolled out a suite of mobile applications to help government agencies improve in areas such as collaboration and application development.
Salesforce.com's Vivek Kundra talks about the federal government and the cloud, mobility and social.
Vivek Kundra, who joined Salesforce as a top executive after serving as the first CIO of the federal government, pitched the new offerings as a set of tools to make the government a more customer-focused enterprise, just as the firm has been steering its users in the private sector toward a more social, collaborative approach with their own customers.
"It's very much about becoming a customer company," Kundra, Salesforce's executive vice president of emerging markets, said here at a company event. "How do you listen to your customers? How do you tap into the ingenuity of your citizens?"
With its new government applications, Salesforce is focusing on citizens as well as partners and employees as it looks to build on what Kundra describes as the "megatrends" of cloud, mobile and social computing.
Federal IT Pedigree
Few people are better qualified to make such a presentation than Kundra, who was a lead architect of the federal government's cloud-first policy, and helped lay the groundwork for several other initiatives aimed at modernizing the sprawling federal IT apparatus with new technologies that can cut costs, improve efficiencies and deliver better services to citizens.
At present, CIOs throughout the federal government are working toward a series of milestones outlined in the White House's digital government strategy, issued one year ago Thursday. That document called for agencies to draw on technology to improve their citizen-facing services, with a particular emphasis on mobile applications.
A recent survey of federal IT executives found that only a slim majority of respondents believe that their agency has taken concrete steps to advance its mobile strategy, while just 39 percent said that their agency has produced at least two applications geared for citizens that have been optimized for mobile devices.
But the White House directive stands, and while issues like security concerns and tight budgets may have slowed the development of mobile technology in the government, agencies continue to work toward the common goals of setting usage policies and developing new applications.
In that spirit, Salesforce is now looking to expand its already substantial public-sector business with the new offerings, which include a social-media-monitoring app called the Government Social Command Center.
Patterned after a similar application the Red Cross uses to monitor posts on social sites like Twitter in disaster areas, the Social Command Center app harnesses the company's marketing cloud (built on technology Salesforce acquired with the purchase of the social-listening service Radian6) to enable government officials to make sense of the mentions of their agencies on social media channels.
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