Ian Hardenburgh takes a look at the new Do social productivity app launched by Salesforce.com and evaluates it's prospects for enterprise users.
Salesforce.com's new Do (see Do.com) app for social task management has been generating a lot of (cloudy) news lately. However, it probably doesn't deserve much attention from the enterprise cloud, at least for some time to come. Although the functionality of the app shows a lot of promise, much of the development completed to date has been for what Sean Whiteley, a Salesforce's VP, notes as being for the "prosumer" -- or the closest thing to a consumer-driven product Salesforce has yet to create. This might be Sean's cute way of saying that Salesforce.com is not just for an enterprise audience, but also pro-consumer. Or perhaps he meant in terms of Do being a product for the professional consumer. Regardless of his/Salesforce's intent, a number of current and down-the-road features might better lend themselves to the idea that Do is more for the consumer, than for business users.
Do was built upon the Heroku cloud application platform, which Salesforce.com bought almost two years ago. Heroku can be thought of as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that serves as a middleman to other connected online services (e.g., Facebook), that provides developers with more time to focus on actual development, while still dealing with easy-to-understand subscription pricing. Modeled after Manymoon, another Salesforce acquisition, Do allows users to post tasks and notes from Gmail, using a Gadget, as well as other email services, by having its users email universal, easy-to-remember, email addresses, like firstname.lastname@example.org, in which Do associates with your account by referencing your own email address (think along the lines of Remember The Milk). In return, a group of users, assigned to a particular task or project, of which only some might be actual Do.com registrants, receive real-time alerts or updates, by way of various forms of online communication, like IM. Aside from these types of features, the only other defining factors that make Do social is how it allows for users to also agree, deny, and comment upon posts.
It's hard to tell in what direction Salesforce.com is taking Do in, especially in terms of market. Do doesn't seem all too different other consumer-oriented online task managers, like the aforementioned Remember The Milk, or even Producteev, so there's not much that leads one to believe that Do is also for business users, much less, enterprise ones. That is, outside of the idea that thus far, Salesforce.com has been just that (a company providing services for enterprise users). Do's promised integration with Dropbox, a product that can be said to be mostly directed toward the consumer market, also seems to indicate that Do won't be coming to the enterprise any time soon.