How Cisco used AI to build a better API integration

Joshua Reola, Business Development Manager at Spark/Tropo API, Cisco Systems

B2B
Enterprise
IT / Computer Networking / Telecommunications
API bridge
2 Expert Contractors

Time to hire

Average time to hire a developer — 2 weeks


Time for TARA to hire a PHP developer familiar with Tropo API — 24 hours

Average time to complete similar project

Software development agency: 8 weeks


Freelancer marketplace: 5 weeks


TARA: 2.5 weeks

Cisco needed to find an external developer who was PHP fluent and familiar with Tropo API Traditionally, hiring a new developer took two weeks, but the team needed to start right away. TARA was able to match Cisco with a qualified developer in 24 hours. Not only did TARA provide a quick start, the TARA team completed Cisco’s API integration project in 2.5 weeks—a third of the turnaround time of the typical software development agency.

Tropo, recently acquired by Cisco, is a leading provider of cloud based telecommunications platforms that leverage Web APIs. One of their first projects with TARA was to build an integration for Cisco Spark onto a Wordpress platform. For this project, Tropo sought a good partner to help develop great products for their platform.

“We met the TARA team at SXSW Interactive. The crew was very portfolio friendly and put forth a scope of work that was what we needed to get done.” explained Joshua Reola, Business Development Manager at CISCO focusing on smart APIs. “TARA has a very supportive, responsive, and knowledgeable staff for what we needed to do and was able to knock out the project in a good timeframe.”

For the Tropo team, they wanted a partner who was fast, knowledgeable, and could help them iterate quickly. TARA’s combination of AI powered project management with human oversight was just the right fit.

“When I heard from my manager that the person I was talking to over email was actually TARA’s AI, I was totally blown away. With that kind of engagement, I thought it was human.” says Reola “I also appreciated when the real person stepped in to the process. There will always be a point where the build’s functionality gets specific, and you don’t want the developer to get confused. So, it was also good to talk to a TARA product manager when we got to that point.”

TARA’s product managers worked closely with Reola to ensure the code could be adapted for future product iterations. For example, the Tropo team had plans to add a specific functionality at a later phase in the product build, after the TARA contract was completed. TARA’s developers were able to engineer a solution so that the functionality could be easily implemented later by the Tropo team.

Reola was also happy to discover that some of the developers on the project were actually CISCO alums. Because TARA uses over 120 data points to match developers with businesses, it’s not uncommon to find old coworkers in the TARA talent pool. Reola found that it was easier to engage with developers who were familiar with the industry and understood the business.

With the success of the initial project behind him, Reola sees a future where TARA and Cisco could expand the partnership to new horizons, including sales.

“In a way, I think of TARA almost like an inside sales agent,” explained Reola “It has been very seamless--I need something done and TARA gets it done. Going forward I can see this being used outside of Cisco for our customers who have contact centers and instant messaging. We can see this as an upgrade into our customer base when it comes to their sales process.”