It seems that a popular business model today is to deploy some telephone softswitches or Asterisk servers into a data center, contract for call termination services, and anounce that you are in the telephone API business.  Unfortunately this business approach ignores the lessons learned by following the grand daddy of cloud computing, Salesforce.com.

Salesforce.com was founded in 1999 to provide customer relationship management solutions to small and medium sized businesses.  Four years later, in 2003, after acquiring over 8,000 customers and 127,000 subscribers they released the Salesforce.com API.  Why did Salesforce.com wait so long to release an API?

It’s the applications, stupid! 

Businesses buy applications, not APIs.  By allowing others to create applications for Salesforce that solve real business problems, Saleforce.com created a sustainable and profitable ecosystem.

At Ifbyphone we are following a similar process. In September of 2007 we released our current suite of automated telephone applications.  These applications enhance business processes that depend on a telephone.  Our off-the-shelf applications range from a simple virtual receptionist, voice mailbox or parallel “Find me” (think Google Voice) to sophisticated, interactive, voice-response applications such as Store Locator, Voice Broadcast and API-driven conference calls.  Any of over a dozen Ifbyphone applications may be invoked from an API call, an inbound telephone call, a scheduled outbound call, or an on-demand outbound call.

While those developers who prefer to build applications from scratch have complete access to basic call control services, the majority of Ifbyphone development partners utilize our off-the-shelf telephone applications to save time and reduce complexity.  Our customers and partners are free from the burdens of building standard call processing components such as find me, voice mail or caller ID routing.  Instead they utilize the Ifbyphone API to integrate their business processes with the Ifbyphone standard applications. 

This model works.  Ifbyphone has over 10,000 customers and has been generating revenues for over 20 months.  You can learn more about our development programs at the Ifbyphone Developers page.