RightNow Connect: OnDemand Integration Made Easy

One of the early criticisms about OnDemand technology was that it was harder to integrate with.  I don’t know that this was ever really the case, and I wrote a case study on RightNow’s CTI integration at Belgacom while at Forrester back in 2003 to prove the point.

But I do think it is true that historically, OnDemand vendors have been less focused on external integration and composite applications than traditional OnPremise suite vendors with their much-ballyhooed infrastructure.  Salesforce.com definitely changed that with the introduction of their AppExchange platform.  And now RightNow Technologies has announced RightNow Connect as part of RightNow 8.1, a standards-based SOA integration framework that makes integrating RightNow with any enterprise system a straightforward process.

I had a chat with the RightNow folks last week, and they said they had no intention of building a proprietary 3rd party development platform (a la AppExchange); their goal was to embrace existing Web standards (J2EE, .Net, Web services) with a new integration layer, replacing their existing API set (which is currently used by 300 customers). And, there are more angles on integration than just data.  In addition to data integration, RightNow identified business process integration, desktop integration, packaged app integration, and communications integration.  (For full details, read the RightNow 8.1 press release.)

As proofpoints, RightNow already has 2 technology partners with integrations certified on RightNow Connect:  Genesys, a leader in telephony and contact center technology; and Informatica, a leader in data integration and data quality tools.

RightNow recognizes that though they offer a full eService and CRM suite, many companies have existing technology in place, and Connect will make seamlessly integrating RightNow into your existing support environment much easier than in the past.  This is a refreshing attitude compared to what you typically hear from enterprise CRM players, which expect companies to use 100% of their solution suites, with a lot of data duplication required if you don’t.  Hopefully, they will be able to add some additional names to their partner ecosystem in the near future, and I expect to see some Connect partners across the RightNow reach of support, sales and marketing.

Are you a RightNow customer?  If so, what has your integration experience been?  Any comments or questions are always welcome!  Thanks for reading.

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