Channel Marker

May 3 2007   11:50AM GMT

Cisco/Salesforce.com hookup is top secret — you can tell by how stealthily it’s posted



Posted by: Brein Matturro
Tags:
Cisco
Software as a service (SaaS)
VoIP over IP (VoIP)

Cisco Systems Inc. is making the rounds of press outlets with NDA briefings on its new partnership with Salesforce.com, so most of it is hush-hush (actually all Cisco has said about it is that it will be announcing a hookup).

But the tool itself has already appeared — on April 20. It’s listed as the third-most-downloaded telephony integration app on Salesforce.com’s AppExchange site: the Cisco Unified CallConnector for Salesforce.com.  (An embarassed Cisco PR guy said the page would be pulled down by the time you read this, but we made sure to make a copy of the data sheet (cisco-salesforce-callconnector.pdf).

It’s also listed on Cisco’s own page listing products with which its Unified CallConnector will integrate. Cisco’s version is a lot more subtle, tho. The link just relaunches the page of other CallConnector versions.

One value-added reseller who’s seen the results of the Salesforce.com edition, said the integration will be pretty useful to customers who use Salesforce.com CRM and any kind of Cisco voice services.

 The main point of integration between the two is add-on software for a Cisco voice switch that can take caller ID and other information from a call coming in from outside and route it through the API in Salesforce.com’s free call-center edition, which adds a softphone VoIP interface to the Salesforce.com screen.

When the call comes in, a query hits the customer database and a screen pop gives the phone rep all the pertinent info on the caller. The rep can take notes in the interface and store them as part of the Salesforce.com record; the call itself gets a dynamic link to the data in the record as well.

 It also gives you click-to-dial from inside the Salesforce.com UI.

That’s cool enough for call centers, but for service providers the integration adds another benefit: the automatic link between call and CRM systems creates an automatic time-billing process so technical-support reps and SEs don’t have to track and bill their time manually.  

Cisco won’t be the first VoIP vendor to integrate with Salesforce.com, though. There are nine others listed on that one page, but there are a total of 33 telephony apps of varying flavors that work with Salesforce.com, according to our source.

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