Dreamforce week is the week that technology commentators dread. Salesforce's epic conference attracts well over 100,000 attendees, and for a couple of weeks beforehand analysts' and media's inboxes get absolutely bombarded with requests for briefings, news pitches and invitations to the multitudinous parties that occur during the week.
For the first time in close to a decade I'm following Dreamforce from afar, but the distance hasn't reduced the onslaught any. And while Salesforce's CEO Marc Benioff tends to prerelease news these days, other companies bottle it all up until show week.
A case in point is Dialpad, a communications vendor that is looking to "software-ize" telephony. Dialpad's offering includes HD voice, HD video, group messaging, SMS, MMS, conferencing and screen sharing. The company is betting on mobile workers and the increasing peripatetic nature of work having the effect of making desk phones obsolete -- Dialpad wants to offer software-based solutions to cover all the different use-cases that traditional communication devices covered.
Given this software-centric approach, it is perhaps unsurprising to hear that Dialpad is today announcing an integration into Lightning, Salesforce’s lightweight development and mobile platform. The integrated solution will allow Salesforce users to communicate with their various stakeholders -- customers, partners and colleagues -- natively from within their Lightning applications.
This is a further strengthening of Dialpad's Salesforce-centric offerings. Outside of Lightning, Dialpad offers full softphone capability within Salesforce and also tracks all business communication activity within Salesforce -- be it voice, chat, messaging or conference calls. Analogous to what Salesforce did for CRM, Dialpad is a pre-cloud product that needs no on-premises infrastructure, be it servers, storage or hardwired phones. Dialpad can be deployed rapidly to create a virtual telephony solution.
The Lighting integration seems to be well thought-out with deep functionality that is consistent across other Salesforce offerings. Features include:
- Answer calls directly within Salesforce Lightning
- Click-to-call any Salesforce Lightning record
- Switch calls live back and forth between Lightning and any mobile device
- Transfer calls to colleagues, departments, groups or distributed call queues
- Record any calls and easily listen to recordings in Lightning
- Access the entire Salesforce contact list
- Access the companywide directory from any device
- Automatically log activities and add notes from any device
- Utilize call queues for distributed sales and service
- Expose contextual customer data to allow teams to respond faster and more efficiently to sales and service calls
Dialpad already has tens of thousands of customers who have gone "all-in" on hardware-less communications. It would be easy to extrapolate that to being the situation and desired end state for all organizations. The truth, however, is not quite so clear, and it's fair to say that fixed telephony vendors are still doing OK.
That said, the trend is very much towards the Dialpad approach, and increasingly a software-based solution ticks the correct boxes for customers. Given Dialpad's deep existing ties with Salesforce, and the fact that it has, like Salesforce, espoused a purely cloud-based approach, this integration makes total sense. It is another opportunity for Dialpad to position itself as the communications thought leader in a marketplace full of conservative and moribund vendors.
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