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Salesforce.com Releases Lightning Connector for Outlook

Salesforce.com today released a connector that will give Office users dynamic and customizable access to their CRM data in their Outlook inbox. The new Lightning Connector is a key deliverable based on a partnership Salesforce.com and Microsoft inked two years ago.

The release comes at a rather awkward time for the two companies. Microsoft two weeks ago agreed to acquire social networking giant LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. The price tag for the deal was reportedly pushed up thanks to Salesforce.com's  own offer made to acquire for LinkedIn, CEO Marc Benioff told Recode, a year after Microsoft tried to acquire Salesforce.com.

Whether or not there are hard feelings, the two companies are partners and the connector will benefit both companies that are under pressure by their shared customer bases to improve the utility of their respective widely used offerings.

Lightning for Outlook brings functionality from the Salesforce.com SaaS suite into users' inboxes. That would let a sales rep update a price quote with Salesforce SteelBrick CPQ directly in Outlook or use a Salesforce.com partner app such as Altify, which provides a sales productivity tool, according to two examples provided in today's announcement.

The connector is based on Salesforce.com's Lightning Components, announced last week, which is a framework of reusable code blocks, many of which are available on the company's AppExchange. The framework comes with Lightning App Builder tool, which lets developers drag and drop those components to build new apps or embed them into third-party software. Users will soon be able to embed those components into Outlook.

The new Lightning for Outlook is redesigned to offer a more intuitive user experience. When users scroll through their inboxes, it has a more modern display and embedded search capability enabling users to find Salesforce data within their inboxes, the company said.

Lightning for Outlook is available in the Office Store as a free add in. Lighting Synch is also free and available now for Salesforce.com customers with Sales Cloud Lightning Enterprise Edition licenses or higher. The Lightning Components Framework for Outlook is set for release this fall. The company said it will disclose the price of the framework upon its release.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/28/2016 at 12:02 PM


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