Oracle has agreed to acquire InQuira, a company whose portfolio includes analytics and knowledge-base offerings for CRM platforms. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
"The 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 CRM Service."
Oracle will 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."
Oracle's 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 networking.
Microsoft and 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.
"There is 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.