Danny: Hello, this is Danny Ryan. Welcome to the AppExchange podcast. Today I have Eric Bowden here with me. Eric is a Principal Consultant for ThreeWill. We’re doing our second podcast of the day. Thank you for hanging out with me even longer.
Eric: That’s right. That’s right. Thank you for having me.
Danny: Absolutely. We’re going to talk about a second product here. The name of this product is Channel. Tell me a little bit more about Channel.
Eric: Channel is bringing Chatter in Salesforce to users in SharePoint in Office 365. The idea is that you can take what is your group feed, the feed for a group and you can render that on a page in SharePoint. That includes your basic Chatter features, such as of course, you can view posts to that group in Chatter as well as issue new posts. You can like, unlike, add comments, mentions and topics.
Danny: Awesome. We’re looking at taking if an organization uses Chatter for social collaboration in Office 365 they could now combine the two of those. I guess there are. We’ve run into a lot of organizations who are doing this, who standardized on Chatter and have standardized on Office 365. The obvious thing if you wanted to stay pure Microsoft would be to use Yammer, which has a lot of overlap with Chatter. The issue comes into play with if you’ve got multiple social platforms that creates a little dissonance …
Eric: That’s right it does.
Danny: … for the typical user. You want to really try to choose one over the other, right?
Eric: That’s right. It is becoming common that folks have standardized on Chatter. Chatter has a number of advantages. Mobile support is a big one. Chatter in Salesforce is easy to integrate with other custom applications, other custom processes, which are in Salesforce. There are a number of advantages there. Another aspect of it is that as I’m sure you can imagine, a lot of customers are not so focused on SharePoint or Office 365.
They have a number of other web-based platforms, the Adobe CQ, Confluence, of course, SharePoint being one of them, custom web applications that they may have built. When they’re choosing a social platform the advantage of Yammer and choosing a Microsoft social tool and that it’s going to work well with Micros- Office 365, that advantage goes away when they start thinking about I’m going to take this social tool and be sure to integrate it with all of my web-based platforms.
Danny: Salesforce has done a good job of really trying to integrate Chatter with other platforms as well.
Eric: I think they’ve done a good job of making it easy for it. I think it’s still a custom app activity the same as it is with integrating Chatter with SharePoint and Office 365. It’s still a custom app activity to integrate with Adobe and Confluence and so forth. That’s also the case with a Yammer or any other social tool. You’re going to have customization. I guess from my view, a lot of the social platforms they flatten out when you consider that you’re going to have an effort to integrate them with most of your platforms anyway.
Danny: The name, do you remember the history of the name we started? I think this thing has had probably five different names. I think it’s gone through a couple of names.
Eric: This is true. This is true. It had a pirate name to it didn’t it though [crosstalk 00:04:05]
Danny: Parlay was it at one point in time. Then we realized that there’s two different spellings for that. I just got confused. Then we just figured, hey, it’s another, it’s Channel. Channel reminds you a little bit of chatter …
Eric: That’s right.
Danny: … as well.
Eric: We wanted a technology-based name.
Eric: A channel on your old-time-y radio is what always comes to mind for me.
Danny: Absolutely, absolutely. A little bit about where this thing came from. Tell me. I know we had done some work with Salesforce a couple years ago. Give me a little bit of the back history on this thing.
Eric: Sure, sure, we go back with Chatter integrations more than three years. We worked directly with Salesforce just about three years ago or maybe a little bit further back helping to build an integration with SharePoint. That integration was SharePoint on-prem. At the time, of course, SharePoint was available in the cloud, but it hadn’t really taken off like it has since the introduction of Office 365. We were helping build an on-premises integration with SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010.
Danny: That was called Chatter for SharePoint correct?
Eric: That was Chatter for SharePoint, exactly.
Danny: That’s a product that’s people that is out there as a part of Salesforce’ product suite.
Eric: That’s right. That’s right. Then soon after we had some period of time where we were not actively working on the Chatter for SharePoint integration, but we had that expertise, and so we continued to have customers who were coming to us kicking around ideas. We want a Chatter integration. We know you guys have this experience, but we’re not really quite ready to pull the trigger. As these customers kept coming to us with these ideas …
Danny: I’m laughing because Eric and I know the … We won’t share the name of the person or the company. We had our longest sales opportunity. It was three years long.
Eric: That’s right.
Danny: That we worked on the sales opportunity for a large soda company.
Eric: That’s right. That’s right. Danny and I, Tommy and I rather, we got together to celebrate three years to the day. It was random that we landed on that day, but we did. It took us a while for that particular opportunity. All along the way, really, what was happening at ThreeWill is we’re like it happens often with us is we’re getting ideas from our customers. We’re getting ideas for what is a need. The need was an integration for SharePoint and Office 365. We really, in our spare time, were whittling away at a Chatter integration.
We’re thinking about it from two perspectives. Chiefly, from an architectural perspective, what are the bits and bites and how is this going to go together? We’re really doing that as a pre-sales activity for this long-term sales, this long sales cycle that we were in. It was really a side effect of that is finding that, hey, we don’t have that much further to go. We can develop a product that has some value for folks and go through, have the experience of publishing it to the Office store.
Danny: One of the benefits of a really long sales cycle is you may get a product out of it.
Eric: That’s right. That’s right. Hey, shh.
Eric: Don’t tell. Don’t tell.
Eric: Don’t tell.
Danny: I know for folks who are listening part of this is that we’ve got a free version of this. We’re also just like with Trove we’re planning on putting out a pay-for version or more of an enterprise-grade, works with different types of security. I know there is some additional things that we would love to add to it, feature set wise as well. When we’re looking at the demo, I think it is pretty … It’s got some very important features, but also has its edges.
Recognize that as well as you’re looking at the product that we will be coming out with more of a plus version of the product that’s a paid-for version, especially as customers come to us and really show interest in this product. Cool, I think this is definitely one that needs to be seen. Why don’t I go ahead and switch over to you? Actually, let me just show you real quickly in the AppExchange the listing that we have. This one actually came after we published out Trove. You can go there and see more information about Channel on the AppExchange. Let me switch over to you and you have control.
Eric: I have the con.
Danny: Yes, you do.
Eric: You should be seeing my page in SharePoint now.
Eric: On the right-hand side of that page is Channel. As described earlier, this is configured. This is the Chatter feed for a group in Chatter. You can see it has the basic functionality of rendering or so I can view messages that have been posted to that group in Chatter. I can hover over usernames and get a little bit more information about those users. If users have their phone number, some contact information to find, that’ll show up in the pop-up also. I can also like and unlike. It’ll tell me who has liked a post that I’ve applied previously. I can add a comment and so forth. Then of course, I can also share a new message. Let’s see. The little pop-up is stuck open. It looks like I’m wanting to be an even more active influencer. I think I am not going to let you go in there.
Danny: Will the paid-for version, will that make this thing go …
Eric: Yes, you have to pay …
Danny: … that go away?
Eric: … for that, too, for that to go away, exactly. That’s part of the up-sell.
Danny: Is this like Trove where you have a part of it on the AppExchange and a part of it in the Office store?
Eric: No, this is only in the Office store.
Danny: There is a marketing app. There is a listing in there, but it doesn’t do anything,
Eric: That’s right. That’s right. It will [crosstalk 00:11:16]
Danny: It’s the world’s most uninteresting … It points you back to our site, which points you to how, or tells you how to download off of the Office store.
Eric: That’s right. That’s right. The AppExchange it’s an awesome marketing tool. It’s really to me as an administrator and as a developer at the moment between the Office store and the AppExchange, the AppExchange is the more intriguing place to go. It’s a little bit more of my first place to go looking for solutions with Salesforce. From that perspective, it makes sense that you’d want to have a presence for your application in the AppExchange whether it’s simply for a marketing or a visibility standpoint.
Danny: You’re just adding in a new status update here.
Eric: Yes, I add a new status. I’ll just show you it does support at mentions. You see I’ve got a little search capability there.
Eric: Then it also supports …
Danny: By hash.
Eric: …. topics.
Danny: Topics? What about is that hash tag? Is that the same thing as hash tag?
Eric: Hash tag, topic, yeah. It can enter in my topics.
Danny: Hash tag.
Eric: Share that out so you can see it. That’s not the right topic.
Danny: Is this, like when we looked at Trove, we saw it was associated to an account or an opportunity. How is this particular, do you associate this over to a place inside where you [crosstalk 00:12:51] extra for …
Eric: What’s going on here? There we go. I finally got my hash tag.
Danny: You’re not convincing me right now.
Eric: This is true.
Danny: We already know. We know this [crosstalk 00:13:10]
Eric: Nothing to see here.
Danny: We know this is a live demo. We’ve proven that point. Now, we need to move on from that.
Eric: That’s right. What was your question? I missed your last one.
Danny: This can you associate this feed over to a certain place inside of Salesforce or how is it that you …
Eric: It’s with the groups in Chatter. If I go down, I’m going to open up the web part properties of this application and go down to the miscellaneous section. You’ll see down at the very bottom is the Chatter group ID. You have to go over into Salesforce, grab the group ID, the ID of the group, which you get from the URL. Folks in Salesforce are somewhat accustomed to doing that. You do that from time to time when you’re configuring things.
Danny: Is there an ID for the All Company?
Eric: There is. The All Company is a standard route just like the others. You go over and grab that. I’ll show you another aspect of this, which is the setup. Let’s see if I can get to it. Let me save this page. Then we’ll go to the installation guide for Channel, which this installation guides comes after you install it from the Office store. The Channel is an application in your site. You can open that application. You get this installation guide. The neat thing about this installation guide is it actually tells you the settings to paste in. There is some configuration required over in Salesforce. It’s not a lot. You have to create a connected app and you have to configure cores. Those are two settings in Salesforce, not overly complicated and this …
Danny: Coors is a great beer.
Eric: It is, one O, not two Os. You know what. Somebody is probably going to come up with that beer soon. I think they can. They’ll just have to call it …
Danny: We’re going to write off the marketing of Coors and just take one of the Os out.
Eric: That’s right. I think it could be done.
Danny: Configure cores to channel, excellent.
Eric: It’s telling you really what to copy, paste, what the settings are and so forth. As you can see, these are environment-specific. This page is calculating for you what those settings need to be. You just copy and paste, throw them in there, boom, boom, boom. You’re done.
Danny: Excellent. If folks want to see this demo, this slightly questionable, but gets better demo …
Eric: It was all user error. It was all user error. I am not a very technical user. I just fumbled my way through this thing.
Danny: I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.
Eric: That’s right. That’s right and you’ve got to love Channel and Coors.
Danny: And Coors. If you want to see this demo, go to www.AppExchangePodcast.com. You’ll see the Vimeo up there of the demo. Thank you, Eric, for doing two in a row.
Eric: You bet.
Danny: This is big stuff here.
Eric: This is going to be big.
Danny: Now, you’ve hung out with me here for a little while.
Eric: That’s right.
Danny: Now, you don’t need to talk to me again for a long time.
Eric: That’s right. We’re going to be famous.
Danny: We’re going to be famous.
Eric: After this comes out, this is going to be the big time.
Danny: No, I appreciate …
Eric: This really is.
Danny: I appreciate everybody at ThreeWill listening to this. Hey, Tommy, how’s it going?
Eric: Hi Mom.
Danny: Hi Mom, thanks everybody for listening. We appreciate you taking the time to do this. Have a wonderful day. Take care. Bye-bye.