Salesforce.com agreed to acquire Radian6, the kingfish of social media monitoring software makers, last month for $326 million. Rivals and analysts discuss consolidation in the space.
For those questioning Salesforce.com's $326 million purchase bid for social media
monitor Radian6 last month, stop and consider the accelerated market landscape.
The enterprise social software market
has evolved to the point where niche markets within the sector, which Gartner
said could hit $769 million this year, are seeing consolidation.
There are several companies like
Radian6 specializing in the niche of social media monitoring and analytics
software. These widgets and reporting tools help social software providers get
a good grip on the pulse of what consumers, partners and competitors are saying
about their product, service or brand on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs.
Such information is important to
influence how marketers shape their brands in an age where the real-time status
update has become a chief medium used by consumers to describe their
experiences with companies. Naturally, this provides great value to social
software providers such as Salesforce.com, which enables salespeople to make
connections and drive leads.
Altimeter Group analyst Susan Etlinger
said the capability to integrate social data and insight into enterprise
applications will shift this year from a differentiator to a requirement for
social analytics providers.
That's why Salesforce.com agreed to buy
Radian6 March 30. It's also why Jive Software picked up Filtrbox, Lithium
Technologies acquired Scout Labs, Attensity bought Biz360 and MarketWire
grabbed Sysomos last year.
Salesforce.com Chief Marketing Officer
Kendall Collins told eWEEK that social has become table stakes for CRM deals,
and if "you don't have a social strategy, you're dead in these CRM
That's why Salesforce.com fashioned its
Chatter social collaboration application, which has
80,000 customers using it to collaborate on sales leads and other projects.
Chatter already connected with Facebook
and Twitter, but Radian6 will help Chatter customers draw a bead on their
market perception across LinkedIn, YouTube and thousands of blogs, photo and
video-sharing sites. It also helped that Radian6 was standardized on Java and
Dell servers, both of which Salesforce.com also leverage for its swath of
"Radian6's technology is by far
and away the best," Collins said, noting that is why the company has
racked up 2,400 business-to-consumer customers. "You are either going to
build or buy, and to build something the quality of Radian6 would have take
multiple years to get something that's not even close."
Lithium Technologies CEO Lyle Fong told
eWEEK that Salesforce.com's purchase of Radian6 points to the emerging
importance of social customers in brands' overall customer relationship
"These are tools that are like
search engines. They go out and scour the entire Web to try to find any mentions
of a brand and try to provide analytics around it," said Fong. "It's
one small piece of it, and everyone has a different take. Companies are buying
them and using them in different ways, so it's become more