On October 5, Cisco and Salesforce.com jointly announced Customer Interaction Cloud, a combined Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) "solution" that enables customer service organizations to implement their contact centers entirely "in the cloud." An organization can deploy its entire contact center in the cloud on Force.com, Salesforce.com's cloud computing platform. This includes case management and knowledge management customer service applications, call routing, call queuing, agent management, and CTI telephony applications, and the integrations between them are deployed entirely.
This is a very big, maybe market-changing announcement.
Think about it. Cisco and salesforce.com are providing an approach to contact center implementation that requires no computer system hardware or software and no telephony hardware or software—no hw/sw purchase, implementation, or management and support. A little provisioning and configuration, perhaps a little customization and, whammo, you've got a fully functional contact center. Train your CSRs, give them the URL to access the apps' home page through the Web browsers on their desktops and their IP phones, and turn them loose. (Yes, Customer Interaction Cloud assumes you're using VoIP.)
We cover several customer service suppliers with offerings that have SaaS deployments—Astute Solutions, Attensity Group, IntelliResponse, nGenera, and RightNow in addition to Salesforce.com. In addition, we know of several telephony suppliers that have CaaS (Communications as a Service) deployments of their applications—Mobivox, OnState, SipGate, and Voxeo, for example. But, we believe that Cisco is the first telephony supplier to offer SaaS deployment and, together, Cisco and Salesforce.com are the first to offer a complete and integrated SaaS contact center offering that combines customer service and telephony applications.