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"Companies that don't use social collaboration internally will find it harder to recruit talent and will lose significant competitive advantage," Rothemore said.
Any Salesforce user can invite any colleague -- even those who aren't Salesforce users -- to collaborate with Chatter. The goal is to create a network effect, as the pool of Chatter users widens and deepens across a company. Salesforce.com pointed to the security of Chatter Free, noting that because it's built on the Force.com platform, enterprises are assured employees only see what they are authorized to see.
Bob Beauchamp, Chairman and CEO of business-app maker BMC Software, remembers the first time Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff talked to him about Chatter. Intuitively, he thought it was a great idea.
"It's obvious that this is a change that's going to last forever. This way of doing business just makes sense," Beauchamp said. "I want BMC to be a company where the employees feel like they are working for a cutting-edge company that's setting the pace -- not a follower but a leader."