The two Bay Area companies announced plans on Thursday to develop products that combine Cisco's web-based video and audio technology with Salesforce's cloud software to make it easier for businesses to quickly fire up conversations with their customers.
Rather than having to hop over to an e-mail or look up the phone number and make a call, a salesperson will be able to click a button within a client's profile and launch a text chat, video or voice conversation, powered by Cisco.
"Every company that's come before and tried to do this has created a new island," said Rowan Trollope, Cisco's senior vice president who runs collaboration. By rebuilding its technology on the web, "Cisco can embed one-to-one and multiparty communications right into the workflow," he said.
The partnership comes at a fortuitous time for Cisco, because it puts the networking giant on the agenda for next month's Dreamforce, Salesforce's mammoth annual customer conference in San Francisco.
While Salesforce was born in the cloud and has been able to take advantage of the advancements in mobile and data analytics, Cisco's glory days were back when businesses bought their own infrastructure — in Cisco's case networking gear like big switches and routers.