Voice-as-a-Service Takes Shape
I’ve been telling people that the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement will not only transform the software industry, but also dramatically impact the telecommunications and networking businesses as well. A recent company announcement which received limited press attention is another indication of the trend I see emerging.
Ribbit – calling itself “Silicon Valley’s first phone company” – announced earlier this week the general availability of Ribbit for Salesforce, the first enterprise application to link mobile voice communications and SaaS business workflow to allow users to configure their own communications services.
Ribbit’s new offering is being characterized as a ‘voice automation’ solution which accelerates the deployment of communications and integrates them with customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities via salesforce.com.
This solution promises to eliminate the complexities of communications deployment and management projects, and improve worker productivity by tying their communications devices into their CRM systems.
Ribbit for Salesforce is built on the salesforce.com’s Force.com Platform and was tested in a private beta program involving more than 70 businesses. It is now available to all U.S. customers of salesforce.com via the salesforce.com AppExchange.
It also creates new competitive challenges for traditional telephony vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel and Siemens. It also creates new business challenges for traditional telecom resellers, as well as telecommunications carriers.
The self-provisioning capabilities and simplicity of administration offered by Ribbit’s solution, undercuts the value of traditional reseller and carrier’ consulting, integration and management services surrounding complex telephony equipment and services.
In case you think Ribbit’s solution will only appeal to a small circle of Silicon Valley tech-heads, be aware that the company has a community of over 4,000 independent developers building applications on Ribbit’s carrier-grade telephony-plus-software infrastructure platform. And, salesforce.com’s CRM and AppExchange solutions are rapidly being adopted by organizations of all sizes across nearly every industry.