Salesforce.com Announces Cisco Partnership, Service Cloud 2 Improvements
NEW YORK - Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff headlined an event at
Manhattan's Time Warner Center designed to highlight both his company's new
partnership with Cisco Systems and new
additions to its Service Cloud 2 platform.
"The most thrilling thing with moving to the cloud isn't just
applications...but platforms themselves," Benioff told a ballroom of analysts,
customers and media on Oct. 5. "Over the
next 10 years, you'll see us drive strongly
to show the next great thing is cloud computing."
The partnership between Salesforce.com and Cisco will see the Cisco Unified Communications platform brought into Service Cloud 2, allowing SMBs (small and midsize businesses) to run their customer-service operations entirely from the cloud.
Cisco Unified Communications offers functionality such as intelligent contact routing, call treatment and network-to-desktop computer telephony integration (CTI) over IP infrastructure. Combined with Cisco's Collaboration Solutions, companies can integrate inbound and outbound calls with real-time chat, Web collaboration and e-mail.
That will be joined with Service Cloud 2 as their primary
agent desktop, allowing customer-service personnel access to Salesforce.com
capabilities such as knowledge bases and social-networking feeds. Salesforce.com
was also using the presentation to announce "five-minute upgrades," which give customers read-only
access to their data during planned maintenance windows, except for a
five-minute cutover time.
By strategically utilizing Salesforce.com's real-time, fully
mirrored data centers, Salesforce.com has managed to radically reduce the time
needed for system upgrades and updates. During the presentation, Benioff touted
how his company's 63,200 clients were handled by 1,500 servers spread across
three locations worldwide-an example of what he called efficiency, "possible
because of multitenant shared systems."
The combined Cisco and Salesforce.com solution will be
available in the first quarter of calendar year 2010, with both Cisco and
Salesforce.com offering it for sale.
Service Cloud 2 includes three new features that leverage
SAAS (software-as-a-service) capabilities.
The first, called Salesforce Knowledge, is designed to spare
customer-service personnel from needing to access a knowledge base stored on
another piece of software, by integrating an automatically upgradable,
Google-accessible knowledge base into the Salesforce.com platform. The knowledge
base, customizable for specific company use, is designed to save those personnel
valuable seconds when trying to find knowledge that can be used to solve a
The second feature, Salesforce Answers, attempts to bring
crowd-sourcing into the Salesforce.com ecosystem. With this application in
place, an enterprise or SMB can create a customizable database where they can
post questions and other data, and collect information from the community in
response. That information is then filtered through a company's knowledge base,
allowing it to respond to future situations on a more expedited basis.
The third one, Salesforce
integrates Twitter into the service cloud to provide real-time
information from the social-networking service. By allowing
personnel to "Search Twitter for Service Issues," via a tab in the
users can view public conversations about a product and send
messages-i.e., "tweets"-about particular service issues. Service agents
can also post messages
to the Twitter community, and use a Twitter Support Channel to create a
case within Service Cloud that can be routed to the appropriate company
Despite debates over whether social-networking tools are truly effective within a corporate context, Salesforce.com has dedicated itself toward integrating Facebook and Twitter into its dashboard.