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.

A new AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)-enhanced desktop allows users greater flexibility. “The overall theme to this release is customization,” Kendall Collins, vice president ofproducts and marketing, told CRM Buyer.

“Winter ’07 will build on our innovation ofmultitenancy to now offer unlimited customizationthrough the AppExchange platform,” said Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. “This is agame-changing release that delivers unlimitedfreedom to create custom user interfaces, innovativemash-ups and more powerful multitenant applications.”

Focus on Contact Center

The biggest development in Winter ’07 is itsCTI integration with Cisco products — afirst for Salesforce.com. This new functionality isaimed 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 itsfootprint 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 enhancetelesales operations supported by Salesforce.com. Implementing this particular feature is extremely easy, said Collins. “All the user has to do is pointour API (application programming interface) and service at the switch, and they will be setup in a few minutes.”

AJAX Ready

Salesforce.com is broadening its AJAX strategy with Winter ’07.In the past, it offered a toolkit fordevelopers, as well as a console for service andsupport that leveraged a few components. TheAJAX-supported user interface allows much more flexibility in customizing the consoleand related components, Collins explained.

Unlike some competitors, though, Salesforce.com has not expandedAJAX to the Dashboard; users have notrequested that functionality, according to Collins.

21 and Counting

This release is the 21st generation of Salesforce.com.Like most on-demand vendors, it upgradesits application with regularity — in this case on aseasonal basis, as the names of theupgrades suggest. On-premise enterprise software, bycontrast, tends to be upgraded every 18 months, and thenew additions are usually far more dramatic.

Nonetheless, the on-demandvendors 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.

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