Oracle has agreed to acquire Inquira, which could bolster its offerings in CRM, where it faces fierce competition from Salesforce, Microsoft and others.
agreed to acquire InQuira, a company whose portfolio includes analytics and
knowledge-base offerings for CRM platforms. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
acquisition of InQuira provides Oracle with a complete knowledge-management
suite, integrated with self-service support, online customer forums and
agent-assisted CRM," Anthony Lye, senior vice president of Oracle CRM, wrote in
a July 28 statement. "We expect InQuira to be the centerpiece for Oracle Fusion
leverage InQuira's assets to "provide an integrated suite of proven solutions
that deliver a comprehensive and highly personalized experience for every
customer, across all channels."
acquisition is yet another indicator of heated competition within the CRM
space. Earlier this year, Microsoft rolled out Dynamics CRM Online, the cloud
version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. For its part, Microsoft has emphasized
how customers can use the cloud platform in conjunction with Microsoft software
such as Office-in effect, creating a supple competitor to Oracle's integrated
hardware-and-software stack. Meanwhile, Salesforce.com has bet its chips on the
idea that businesses want their CRM with features such as real-time social
Salesforce spent much of 2010 hurling intellectual-property lawsuits at each
other, a situation resolved in August 2010 with Salesforce.com agreeing to
compensate its rival for its patents. Meanwhile, Salesforce and Oracle have
made no secret of their mutual animosity.
strong corporate awareness, including at corporate executive levels, of social
networks and their potential impact on corporate brand management and customer
service perception," Drew Kraus, a research vice president at Gartner, wrote in
a March research note. "We expect the high-profile nature of social networks
and social CRM for customer service to rapidly advance adoption from early
adopter to mainstream deployments despite the volatile and rapid evolution of
social networks in general."
For all those
companies in the CRM space (which also includes SAP, whose offerings include a
collaborative CRM platform targeted mostly toward sales teams), that means a
constant push to add those features and functionality that will give their
respective CRM platforms an edge. That being said, the tech giants' radically
different approaches to their vision of an "ideal" CRM suggest a consistent or
dominant model is far from being established.
Even as it
seeks to buttress out its abilities in the CRM space, Oracle is inevitably busy
in other areas, as well. On July 19, the company announced the acquisition of
Ksplice, whose software enables Linux administrators to perform system updates
and security patches without needing to take a system offline.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.