Salesforce Sets Sights On Telecom

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Salesforce, focused on offering solutions to industry verticals of late, has set its sights on modernizing operations in the telecom sector -- with the help of its partners.

The CRM leader based in San Francisco on Wednesday released a Communications Industry Framework that lays out how to best implement solutions built on its platform for communication service providers (CSPs). The framework includes data model specifications, a white paper defining relationships and usage patterns, and API and process documentation.

CSPs have notoriously complex back-end infrastructure that often weds them to the legacy systems they have developed and integrated over many years. But those companies are now competing with new media providers like Google and Facebook, and need software adept at addressing the expectations of increasingly demanding customers in the era of cloud, mobility and social, according to Chris Bauschka, senior director of global telecommunications and media at Salesforce.

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To build a customer-facing solution tailored to their needs, Salesforce and its partners created the standardized blueprint that helps telco operators integrate the Salesforce ecosystem with their complex back-end environments, making it easier to manage accounts, order services and handle billing inquiries.

Salesforce recently launched unique products for the financial services and health-care industries.

But telecom is a different sort of beast, one that calls for a set of specifications to be implemented in conjunction with partners -- not a distinct new product from the vendor, Bauschka explained.

"Telco is a little bit of a different industry," he said, when compared with wealth management and health care. "The back ends, the back office systems, are just incredibly complex."

Because CSPs are inherently network businesses, their infrastructure is powered by hundreds of different systems. That creates an enormous challenge for software providers -- especially those offering cloud-based solutions -- to figure out how their components fit into the larger communications environment.

At the same time, "telco operators understand the core value proposition" that Salesforce offers, Bauschka said, and, with solutions built by its third-party partners, the Salesforce platform is capable of meeting those core requirements.

The Communications Industry Framework, developed in collaboration with TM Forum Frameworx, a suite of best practices and standards from an industry nonprofit, delivers to independent software vendors clear specifications for building solutions for telcos, and to system integrators a guide to deploy Salesforce in those environments.

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