AOL increases sales productivity by using Riva to sync Salesforce to Mac and mobile devices

For a company like AOL, email is the core communication application. Riva now seamlessly integrates Microsoft Exchange and Salesforce and it allows AOL sales teams to access business-critical CRM information via any email client and mobile device – without installing any additional Outlook plugins or mobile apps. The time savings with Riva immediately resulted in higher sales productivity.


In 2010, AOL celebrated its 25th anniversary as a leading global web services company. The company’s business has evolved from one of the first email providers to a global media company spanning online content, products and services to consumers, publishers and advertisers. Today AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is a brand company, committed to continuously innovating, growing, and investing in brands and experiences that inform, entertain, and connect the world. The diverse network of sites combines journalism, technology, engagement, and video, and reaches a global audience on every platform.

The Challenge

AOL’s UK-based team has been using Salesforce as their CRM for 7 years. Salesforce helps the team’s employees manage customer relations and sales activities. In addition, Microsoft Outlook is heavily used to interact with customers, especially by the sales department.

To better support Windows users, AOL used the Outlook Connector from Salesforce to sync contact and calendar data to Microsoft Outlook. As staff started to switch to Mac desktops, laptops and mobile devices (iPad and iPhone), they started looking for alternatives. The standard and free Outlook Connector from Salesforce does not support Office 2011 for Mac or the Apple Mail, Calendar, and Address Book applications that are included with Mac OS X. iPad and iPhone integration for Salesforce requires a separate mobile app. And AOL found that the Outlook Connector required a fair bit of admin support, because it needed to be installed, configured, and managed on each user’s desktop and laptop.

The Solution

A single server-side implementation of Riva resolved all of AOL’s integration challenges for Salesforce and Microsoft Exchange. Riva On-Premise and Riva Cloud deliver seamless, bi-directional synchronization of Salesforce contact information (contacts, leads, custom fields) and calendar data (appointments, meetings, recurring events, and tasks). In addition, Riva syncs email and Salesforce opportunities, cases, contracts, and custom objects.

Riva provides cross-platform sync support for Salesforce. Whether sales reps prefer to work on Windows desktops, Mac laptops, iPad, iPhone, or other smartphones and tablet PCs, Riva is able to support them all provided they are connected to an Exchange mailbox or Office 365 account. With Riva, Salesforce users do not need to be logged into Outlook for synchronization to occur.

From an administrator’s perspective, Riva is very easy to install and requires close to zero maintenance. Within a few hours, Riva can be installed on a single Windows server or virtual machine, and it will sync Salesforce contact, calendar, and sales information across all Exchange email clients. Very little end-user training is required.

AOL sales reps use Riva to:

  • Sync Salesforce calendar events (appointments, meetings, phone calls)
  • Sync emails and attachments to Salesforce (automatically or manually)
  • Sync Salesforce contacts (filter by ownership, visibility, or other custom filters)
  • Sync Salesforce opportunities
  • Sync Salesforce cases
  • Sync Salesforce custom fields and custom objects

The Results

“Riva provided positive results right away,” said Alex Cowley, Head of CRM Systems at AOL UK. “Sales reps can now create and manage Salesforce contacts, calendar events, and even opportunities directly in Outlook or on their mobile devices. Tracking meetings is no longer a problem as they have their full Salesforce calendar and contact information on all of their devices. Riva provided significant time savings for sales reps and our administrators that have led to higher productivity and better pipeline visibility.”

“From an admin perspective, for example, our three Salesforce administrators spend much less time managing the server-side integration now with Exchange. We can upgrade our Exchange and Salesforce systems and not need to worry about re-installing any Outlook plugins or mobile applications.”

“When you multiply these benefits across multiple users, multiple email clients, and multiple mobile devices, Riva is definitely a good investment.”

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