Seeking to broaden its base of subscribers beyond sales and marketing types, Salesforce.com ( CRM) is rolling out a new product it says will drastically improve the ability to find information on corporate networks. The San Francisco-based company unveiled ContentExchange on Tuesday, a new addition to its portfolio of online business software. By using many of the concepts popularized by Web 2.0 consumer sites, such as user-generated ratings and tags, Salesforce says it has developed a service that will make retrieving corporate data much more intuitive and efficient than the current system of files and folders. "We are another step towards our vision of managing all information on demand," CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement. Salesforce said the technology for its new product comes from a small San Mateo, Calif., company called Koral, which it acquired for an undisclosed sum in March. Salesforce.com's traditional products allow a corporation's employees to quickly share and access "structured" data -- information that is already stored within giant databases. Those applications are typically geared toward things like customer service and sales, because the databases contain customer contact information, sales leads and so forth. The advantage of the new product, says Salesforce, is its ability to interconnect so-called unstructured content, anything from email messages to Powerpoint presentations. Employees can tag their documents with various labels, descriptions and ratings that make it easy for other workers to retrieve the information.
"For the first time we are planning to deliver an application that will touch every corner of the enterprise. And that's a big change for us," says Bruce Francis, Salesforce.com's vice president of corporate strategy. Salesforce said it also will introduce Apex Content, providing the underlying technology for other software developers to create products based on unstructured data. The company said it will announce availability and pricing for the products later this year. Shares of Salesforce closed up 2% Monday to $45.87.