Web interfaces connected to a back-end databases are on the way out as more companies move to an API-based architecture in the cloud. Cisco Systems has witnessed this first-hand as their employees use more than 400 cloud services, according to David deMilo on Cisco Blogs. The networking equipment giant wanted to make the cloud user experience simpler, safer and more efficient, so they decided to build shared application services. An example of this is a common layer of identification and a single source of truth for content across these shared services.
This was expressed in their first inter-cloud application, SalesConnect, which supplies content as a service for Cisco sellers and partners. With so much product information in so many different places, sellers looking for five pieces of information were typically spending 17 minutes searching, often giving up before finding everything they were looking for. That has now been reduced to just 3 minutes as sellers receive personalised content recommendations based on a variety of factors, such as popularity, metadata tags and user ratings.
SalesConnect was built using open-source tools and shared services, retrieving data from back-end systems using API calls, which allow any application on any type of device to consume data that is anywhere on the internet. With future plans in motion including one-click access to experts with instant messaging, Cisco is embracing the inter-cloud possibilities.
Over 14,000 Cisco sellers and partners from 130 countries have used SalesConnect at least once, and the overall reception so far has been very positive. So it is no surprise that Cisco is planning to use the same shared services developed for SalesConnect to build other xRM applications as they move toward reusable services that they are calling “Fast IT”.