Salesforce Winter '07 Adds CTI, Customization Features
Salesforce.com has unveiled its Winter 07 upgrade, which features first-time support for softphone -- that is, computer telephony integration, or CTI -- connectivity. It also includes new interactive calendar design and task management capabilities, as well as additional integration tools. Winter 07 will become available in Q4, the company said.
"Winter '07 will build on our innovation of multitenancy to now offer unlimited customization through the AppExchange platform," said Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. "This is a game-changing release that delivers unlimited freedom to create custom user interfaces, innovative mash-ups and more powerful multitenant applications."
Focus on Contact Center
The biggest development in Winter '07 is its CTI integration with Cisco products -- a first for Salesforce.com. This new functionality is aimed at both corporate users -- especially the small-sized companies that form a large part of Cisco's user base -- and contact centers.
Salesforce.com has been steadily increasing its footprint in contact centers and now has a customer base "in the thousands," Collins claimed.
"It is a strategic business focus for us," he added.
The new CTI functionality is also meant to enhance telesales operations supported by Salesforce.com. Implementing this particular feature is extremely easy, said Collins. "All the user has to do is point our API (application programming interface) and service at the switch, and they will be set up in a few minutes."
Salesforce.com is broadening its AJAX strategy with Winter '07. In the past, it offered a toolkit for developers, as well as a console for service and support that leveraged a few components. The AJAX-supported user interface allows much more flexibility in customizing the console and related components, Collins explained.
Unlike some competitors, though, Salesforce.com has not expanded AJAX to the Dashboard; users have not requested that functionality, according to Collins.
21 and Counting
This release is the 21st generation of Salesforce.com. Like most on-demand vendors, it upgrades its application with regularity -- in this case on a seasonal basis, as the names of the upgrades suggest. On-premise enterprise software, by contrast, tends to be upgraded every 18 months, and the new additions are usually far more dramatic.
Nonetheless, the on-demand vendors make steady, incremental advances with each release. Salesforce.com recently launched functionality incorporating support for Google AdWords. Another new release, Partnerforce, connects enterprises with their channels and partners.