Last week Microsoft asked me to be on the keynote panel for their Canadian launch of Dynamics CRM 2011 (#CRM2011TO). Marcel LeBrun, the CEO of Radian6, had a last-minute conflict for this event, which took place yesterday in Toronto, and Radian6 suggested InsideView as a good alternative for the panel. Since @frankcrm was running the event, I knew it would be good and I was happy to fly up to the frozen tundra and speak to a large and attentive crowd (and spend some quality time with one of my favorite thought-leaders, Paul Greenberg @paulgreenbe, and share the stage with smart people like @briansolis , Facebook’s @Jordan_Banks and LinkedIn’s Jonathan Lister @jlisterca).
I now understand Marcel’s conflict, given today’s announcement that Salesforce.com plans to acquire his company for $326M! Congratulations to our friends at Radian6, a great team that deserves its great success (and a valued customer).
As I think about the implications of this acquisition I see three important trends:
- The entry of salesforce.com in the marketing arena, for the first time with meaningful capabilities. Benioff referred to this as the dawn of the MarketingCloud, which I’m sure got the attention of players like Eloqua (see Joe Payne’s blog post), Marketo and the many social media monitoring players, as well as the big boys at Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.
- Salesforce.com, just like IBM and others, is recognizing the importance of social media aggregation and analytics. Social media and social networks are creating a “big data” problem for enterprises, which creates great opportunities for companies like Radian6 (for marketing), Lithium (for service and customer communities) and InsideView (for sales) to bring filtering and analytics technologies that extracts the signal from the noise. The market doesn’t want more business data, it wants more relevance extracted from the massive amount of data that is created every day.
- The market values relevance over data. Just compare the $150M Salesforce.com paid for data provider Jigsaw, vs. the $326M it paid for technology provider Radian6 (for similar revenue streams).
This acquisition also raises a few questions:
- What does this mean for the health of AppExchange and the Salesforce.com ecosystem? What’s the impact to social media monitoring companies that are dependent on the salesforce.com install base, or even more concerning, built on Force.com?
- Are Microsoft, Oracle, SAP able to respond to Salesforce.com’s speed with their own products, partnerships or acquisition?
Would love to hear your take and your comments.