While many in B2B enterprises have become very familiar with Salesforce CRM over the last 17 years, some other industries remain virtually untouched by the king of cloud computing. There is now a plan to push that boundary into new frontiers, like the already announced forays into healthcare, financials, government and now communications and media. These are all on Salesforce’s short list of markets to get into, according to Andy Baer, senior vice president, Salesforce Industries, communications and media.
The communications and media market is the one that Salesforce is concentrating on at the moment with the announcement of the Salesforce Communications Industry Framework.
While the general online buying experience rapidly moves toward a seamless customer experience (CX) the telecom consumer e-commerce engagement and its brick-and-mortar counterpart remain unconnected, according to Baer. With the framework, Salesforce hopes to integrate CRM into hundreds of telco front-end and back-end systems to help create that seamless CX.
Using an object model, the Salesforce framework will help standardize billing and ordering. This will enable Salesforce and its partners to work with communications service providers (CSPs) and bring them into the cloud.
“Built in accordance with TM Forum Frameworx, the framework empowers communications companies to implement the world’s No. 1 CRM solution to address key business processes, such as managing accounts, ordering services or handling billing inquiries, faster than ever before,” Baer writes in the Salesforce blog. “More importantly, the Salesforce Communications Industry Framework provides a blueprint that gives providers the tools to transform their businesses in this new era of cloud, mobile and social technologies.”
In addition to helping traditional CSPs create seamless CX and move their billing and ordering operations to the cloud, the Salesforce Communications Industry Framework exists as a tool for network over-the-top (OTT) media companies to create their own channels. In this way, OTT media such as Fox or ESPN could deliver services directly to consumers bypassing the CSPs using Salesforce as their interface.
Salesforce did not do this alone. To ensure the framework meets the needs of the communications industry, it worked with key partners in the development process, according to Baer. That list includes independent software vendors Apttus, bit2win, ClickSoftware, CloudSense, Comptel, Sigma Systems and Vlocity Communications.
“CSPs need to increase operational agility and deliver a consistent customer experience through every channel and on any device,” says Dan Ford, vice president and general manager for Vlocity. “Many CSPs are transitioning from costly, legacy on-premises CRM/BSS application stacks to Salesforce’s cloud platform and partner applications like Vlocity Communications, which can be delivered in half the time and cost. Salesforce has crafted a clear roadmap to guide CSPs’ transition to the cloud.”