There May Be More to Salesforce’s RelateIQ Buy Than Meets the Eye will shell out US$350 million in common stock for relationship intelligence firm RelateIQ in a deal expected to close by October.

It will provide another $40 million dollars in stock for RelateIQ’s cash balance.

RelateIQ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Salesforce, according to the latter’s Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Many of Salesforce’s partners — such as Totango, C9 and Aviso — already offer analytics, and “what I think is more important is this [purchase] gives Salesforce more of a footprint in process orientation,” Denis Pombriant, principal of Beagle Research, told CRM Buyer.

What RelateIQ Does

In sum, RelateIQ automatically captures data on a company’s most important sales prospects, provides one interface to customer interactions, and is available through a Chrome browser extension, as well as on iOS and Android mobile devices.

It connects with a user’s in-box and calendar to capture data automatically. Customer interactions are captured automatically, and the application manages a customer’s full life cycle, from support tickets to usage statistics to other key information.

It lets users merge contacts across teams and augment records with data from around the Web — such as links to LinkedIn and Twitter profiles — building a shared address book that’s always up to date.

Users will see the last interaction a customer had with their team, with whom, and when, eliminating duplication of effort.

The application files unanswered emails on users’ home pages.

Its API lets users connect RelateIQ with other tools they use for critical business workflows.

Further, users can link Web forms and email marketing systems to RelateIQ through Zapier.

RelateIQ has advanced data science capabilities to provide users with predictive analytics.

Slurping Up a Competitor

Although one view is that the purchase gives Salesforce a Big Data capability, “that’s not really giving Salesforce credit,” Jeff Cotrupe, an industry director at the Stratecast service of Frost & Sullivan, told CRM Buyer.

“To us, Salesforce has always been rich in Big Data,” he said.

The purchase “brings all the social media and all of that stuff and wraps that with [Salesforce’s] normal customer data into their system,” Cotrupe said, “making a more complete, on-the-fly real-time view of what customers are doing.”

Salesforce is “smart enough to fill the gap that they needed to fill in social data analytics,” he added, “and also take out a competitor who would some day ding their market share.”

A Salesforce Partner’s View

The purchase “provides Salesforce the advantage to optimize the point of customer interaction,” Glen Stoffel, vice president of agile business transformation at Bluewolf, told CRM Buyer.

“It’s not about dashboards, it’s about action — giving customers the tools to uncover customer moments and actionable insights, and using data to predict future behavior and enhance the customer experience,” he said.

Eighty-four percent of the more than 450 respondents to Bluewolf’s “State of Salesforce 2013-2014” survey believe customer engagement will overtake productivity as the primary driver for growth, Stoffel pointed out.

“Predictive analytics and data intelligence are the types of things Salesforce customers are looking for to better engage their customers to drive business results,” he continued, adding that the RelateIQ acquisition reflects “the continued elevation of as a preeminent customer engagement platform.”

Consultancies like Bluewolf, which is product- and vendor-agnostic, will benefit, as organizations will “increasingly rely on [them] to navigate the complexities of enterprise implementations,” Stoffel remarked.

Where Will RelateIQ’s Product Fit In? probably will keep RelateIQ’s product in the niche with and other products for the small business market, Beagle Research’s Pombriant speculated.

The first products incorporating RelateIQ’s technology might be launched at Dreamforce, to be held in San Francisco in October, he suggested.

Salesforce probably will not face too many challenges with the acquisition, Pombriant said, because it “might be seen in retrospect as the company’s first foray into data intelligence and nothing more.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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