Application integration is still too often an afterthought for folks evaluating enterprise software. While folks understand its importance, they still tend to give the bulk of their attention to "sexier" features like pretty user interfaces.
Software providers definitely get it, though. Following the early lead of companies like Salesforce.com, with its Force.com development platform and the better-known example of Apple, a growing number of vendors offer tools and services that make it easier for developers to create apps that integrate tightly with their software.
RingCentral, a provider of cloud communications tools, is the latest to join the ranks. Earlier this week it rolled out its RingCentral Connect Platform, which it promises will help partners and customers build, deploy and manage custom integrations with RingCentral APIs.
This is significant because "communication applications have mostly lived in isolation from other enterprise applications and processes," said RingCentral CEO and founder Vlad Shmunis, in a statement.
Possible use cases mentioned on the company's website include sending and receiving SMS messages from within an enterprise app, enabling click-to-dial capabilities within apps, and offering easy access to call logs that can be used to generate reports.
The platform, which is still in beta, includes a developer portal, APIs, SDKs, a sandbox environment and tutorials. Developers can track applications in development and move apps from sandbox to production. RingCentral already offers integrations for a number of popular cloud enterprise applications from companies like Salesforce, Zoho, Zendesk, Desk.com and Dropbox.
RingCentral also introduced a new Integrations App Gallery where customers can find out-of-the-box integrations from RingCentral partners. Salesforce paved the way for these kinds of application repositories, where people can browse through and purchase apps, with its AppExchange that debuted in 2005. Apple introduced its wildly popular App Store in 2008.