Salesforce teams up with communications giant Siemens

Siemens' OpenScape app to link in with's AppExchange roster

The SaaS (software-as-a-service) model continues to gain adherents and strength as announces this week that it will team up with Siemens, a global technology giant to offer a mashup between Salesforce's CRM service and Siemens HiPath OpenScape communications application.

Siemens will join's AppExchange roster, which now boasts about 400 plus companies.

OpenScape is a presence-aware applet that gives business users the opportunity to use all of the common communications tools, instant messaging, cell phone, and e-mail, in real time.

The mashup embeds OpenScape within Salesforce's CRM service allowing users to check on availability prior to setting up a conference call, sending an IM, or making a phone call.

"If a customer has a tax question and you are the client manager, you can go on the system and see if your tax specialist is on the phone. If he's available, you can conference the specialist in," said Tien Tzuo, chief strategy officer at Salesforce.

In its initial offering, the mashup is being targeted at the financial services community. Currently Salesforce has 1,200 financial services customers, including large customers such as Sun Trust Bank and Aon with 60,000 financial services professionals using Salesforce, according to Tzuo.

Although the mashup mantra says IT is not needed to bring two applications together, Josh Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting sees IT playing a role in how mashups are used.

"IT is not supposed to have to play a big role in how a mashup works. But I suspect IT potentially will be asked to take this capability and do something more with it," Greenbaum said.

The fact that a giant such as Siemens, a major telecom player, is targeting customers is significant because it shows the strength of the SaaS platform, Greenbaum said.

Salesforce also has Dow Jones and Company, Dun & Bradstreet, and Harte-Hanks as major AppExchange partners.

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