Latest Addition to Salesforce.com's AppExchange: Skype for Salesforce
TMCnet Associate Editor
The free, Internet-based calling service Skype (News
) was, until recently, primarily a consumer product. Of late, however, solutions have begun to surface that make Skype useful in the business environment as well. Case-in-point: a Tuesday announcement from Skype Limited (an eBay (News
) subsidiary) and Salesforce.com that the two companies are teaming up to deliver a new version of the Skype software.
Salesforce.com, which provides on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) solutions is now offering a new version of Skype through its AppExchange directory. This new version, Skype for Salesforce, provides seamless integration of Skype into Salesforce’s on-demand CRM applications. The goal is to improve workforce productivity and streamline communications for partners and customers of the two companies.
“As more and more people around the world use Skype to talk to their friends and family, they are increasingly adopting Skype in the workplace to also talk to colleagues and customers,” noted Skype director of business development Scott Miller, in a statement to the press.
Miller continued: “We now offer the tools to integrate Skype communication with the salesforce.com experience via the AppExchange. Besides saving money on telephone bills, this will also enable salesforce.com customers in the small and mid-sized business sector to build stronger relationships and improve the way they manage their contact with colleagues, customers and prospects.”
Skype for Salesforce provides brings the advantages of Skype to the business environment, through capabilities such as being able to manually or automatically integrate Skype contacts with Salesforce. Single-click calling to non-Skype phone numbers using SkypeOut is also included. Further, Skype for Salesforce can be used to conduct conference calls with up to 10 participants, accommodating any combination of Skype and non-Skype users.
In this new version of Skype, Salesforce.com’s (News
) computer telephony interface (CTI
) adapter is used to enable click-to-call for customer or partner numbers listed in the Salesforce SFA or Salesforce Service and Support applications. Inbound Skype calls from people listed in Salesforce automatically and instantly initiate a screen-pop showing that person’s record. This enables Salesforce users to easily and quickly add notes about a conversation or transaction to the appropriate record.
One of the first companies to make use of Skype for Salesforce is Model Metrics, an on-demand CRM consulting firmed headquartered in Chicago that serves the mid-sized and Fortune 500 business market. Recently, there has been an upswing in clients of Model Metrics seeking new ways to integrate Skype into their call centers—both for text chat and voice calling.
Because Model Metrics uses both Salesforce.com and Skype for its internal business, selecting Skype for Salesforce was a logical choice. Further cementing the appropriateness of this move is the fact that the company indicated is planning to enhance its aging PBX
by adding Skype’s click-to-call and SkypeIn functions as a way to improve employee and manager visibility into sales and support call logs.
“Customer-facing sales, marketing and support organizations are increasingly looking to more closely integrate Salesforce CRM applications with their communications systems so they can get a complete 360 degree view of their customers,” explained Model Metrics vice president of technology John Barnes, in a statement.
Barnes continued: “Skype for Salesforce has already helped our staff interact and work more closely with our customers. We anticipate that this easy-to-use integrated solution will enable our clients to better manage their communications, while also reducing costs.”
Matt Holeran, vice president of AppExchange partners at Salesforce.com added that the rollout of this new Skype version comes on the heels of an initial AppExchange Skype application launched in January, 2006 when AppExchange itself was first unveiled. That application was so well-received by the Salesforce.com community that further development continued.
“The new Skype for Salesforce application further revolutionizes business communications by making team collaboration and effective communication a seamless part of every workday,” Holeran said in a statement. “Salesforce.com customers can get it from the AppExchange with just a few clicks to enable a whole new set of functions to enhance how they communicate with their clients and prospects.”
Skype for Salesforce—available now as a free download—was developed by PamConsult GmbH, a Skype Developer Program partner that specializes in Skype and eBay platform applications.
For more about on-demand CRM applications, check out this white paper: No More Limits: CRM On Demand Goes Strategic—just one of the reference documents available in TMCnet’s White Paper Library. After perusing the library, make sure you hop on over to the Communications Developer Conference site to register and get additional info about the event (May 14-17, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, California)—where you can learn how to build the next generation of IP-based communications products and services.
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