Microsoft (News - Alert) and Salesforce are getting cozy. The two have decided to extend their strategic partnership to connect their productivity apps and services, with the end goal of more personalized, customer-driven sales activities, achieved through streamlined collaboration.
The two leaders plan to mash up Salesforce with Skype (News - Alert) for Business, OneNote, Delve, and Windows 10, starting with the Salesforce App for Outlook, which works with Outlook 2013 and Office 365, and Salesforce1 Mobile App for Microsoft Office.
After that, Salesforce will integrate Microsoft’s unified communications suite, Skype for Business (formerly known as Microsoft Lync), into its new Lightning Experience.
Lightning is the renamed core customer relationship management product for Salesforce. As discussed in last month’s issue of CUSTOMER magazine Salesforce Lightning represents a complete rebuild of the Salesforce Sales Cloud and is based on the input of more than 150,000 customers. The new solution delivers a new user interface called Lightning Experience that is customizable and can be used on any device; the Lightning Design System, which provides developers with frameworks, guides, and style sheets through which they can more easily build components to work with Salesforce; and a platform, called Lightning App Builder, and reusable app building blocks, called Lightning Components, that the company announced last year and are now available.
IDC (News - Alert) analyst Michael Fauscette offered this comment about Lightning: “From a user perspective, UI and overall user experience is more important than ever for driving adoption and use of any tool. In the case of Salesforce, the UX of the core web experience and other apps built on force.com was out of sync with the very good mobile experience that Salesforce1 offers. Responsive design capabilities means that apps built on Force will not be tied to a specific end device, but would cater to the idea of any device any time, which more closely match user expectations today.”
Speaking of Salesforce1, Microsoft and Salesforce in the second half of next year will launch the Salesforce1 Mobile App for Windows 10.
These two companies, which were once bitter enemies, have learned to work closely together – acknowledging the synergies between the dominant Salesforce platform and Microsoft's Skype for Business solution, which is growing rapidly. (In fact, earlier this year there were reports that Microsoft had made an offer to acquire Salesforce, but that its $55 billion offer was well below the anticipated offer of $70 billion.)
Skype for Business hosted a conference at last month’s ITEXPO in Anaheim. And Paco Contreras Herrera, director of worldwide product marketing at Skype for Business, gave a keynote address at ITEXPO (News - Alert) in Anaheim in which he was expected to touch on this new collaboration and the benefits it will bring to customers worldwide. For our coverage on the conference and keynote, both of which occurred after press time, visit TMCnet.com.
The relationship with Microsoft is just one of the many ways Salesforce is continuing to expand its influence.
The CRM giant recently expanded its offerings for the contact center with the introduction of the Service Cloud Lightning Console, and the Service Wave Analytics App, both of which will be generally available by the end of the year. The console brings all customer service channels together in a single platform for ease of use for contact center agents. It also allows organizations to have knowledge articles available within the platform. The app, which is based on the Service Wave offering Salesforce introduced last year, allows agents and contact center and customer support managements to have a 360-degree view of the customer and look at key performance indicators.
Salesforce is also attacking the Internet of Things opportunity. In September at its massive Dreamforce event in San Francisco, the company introduced Thunder IoT Cloud.
“Salesforce is turning the Internet of Things into the Internet of Customers,” explained Marc Benioff (News - Alert), chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “The IoT Cloud will allow businesses to create real-time one-to-one, proactive actions for sales, service, marketing or any other business process, delivering a new kind of customer success.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi