Thursday, October 22, 2009

Service Cloud2 – taking Customer support into the cloud?!

image has always been very visionary and successfully pushing the SaaS model into the market for sales force automation (SFA).

In their presentation of the “Service Cloud2” yesterday, they showed that the same SaaS model can also work for customer service and support.
Marc Benioff said that the average service and support applications are about a decade old – and I would totally agree with that. Having seen some installations and the associated data centers behind these applications, I can imagine the potential that Benioff sees in this market and that customers see in potential savings.

SFDC presented some very important new modules of the Service Cloud2 that are indispensable for high quality customer support:

  • A knowledgebase (competing with RightNow)
  • CTI integration (powered by CISCO?)
  • Integration to social networks (like Facebook and twitter)
  • Customer portals and communities (competing with Jive SBS)

While all these elements are not new and there are solutions out there to handle them, SFDC is probably the first one that is able to deliver a fully integrated solution (including crowdsourcing) out of one hand and paid solely per usage. This will allow small and medium sized companies to deliver a great customer experience with very little upfront investments in infrastructure and licenses.

Very obvious that putting all CRM in the hands of SFDC also has the risk of a vendor lock-in. And realistically, even if they call this a cloud, it is still not what I would call true cloud computing and it will not be possible to easily switch parts of the CRM to some other vendors or ‘in-source’ the application in the future.

But still, this is a very nice vision that Benioff and his team are bringing to a life and I am very sure that it will be as successful as the SFA module was.

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