Salesforce.com Acquires InStranet, Bringing Industry-Leading Knowledge Base Technology to Salesforce CRM Customer Service & Support
~ Accelerates salesforce.com's momentum in the enterprise call centre market, adding
game-changing technology and 350,000 global call centre agents ~
Salesforce.com [NYSE: CRM], the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), has announced the acquisition of InStranet, the leading provider of
knowledge management technology for business to consumer (B2C) call centres.
The acquisition brings powerful knowledge base Dimensions technology to Salesforce CRM
Customer Service & Support, enabling customers and call centre agents around the world to
quickly find the answer they need, the first time.
The addition of this game-changing technology and approximately 350,000 global call centre
agents aggressively accelerates the momentum of Salesforce CRM Customer Service & Support in
the growing customer service and support market, which is currently estimated at $3.4 billion by
Gartner (Gartner, Market Trends: CRM Software, Worldwide, 2007-2012, March 31, 2008).
“I'd like to welcome the InStranet team to salesforce.com," said Marc Benioff, chairman and
CEO at salesforce.com. “We're excited to add this unmatched technology to our SaaS applications and
Force.com platform. Not only will it make our service and support offering stronger for our
customers and further their success, but it will help catapult our growth in the customer service
and support space."
“Delivering our technology as a service had become a key focus for us due to strong interest
from our customers,” said Alex Dayon, founder and CEO of InStranet. “This is an exciting
opportunity for all of us at InStranet, and will be a huge leap forward for the SaaS market.”
“This acquisition gives Salesforce CRM Customer Service & Support unique technology that
provides a better approach to knowledge base management,” said Sheryl Kingstone, director,
Enterprise Research at Yankee Group. “And the timing is ripe - companies have been asking for a
better way to organise their corporate knowledge to serve customers, and this acquisition will help
salesforce.com differentiate itself from the competition."
The Customer Service and Support Market Opportunity - Turning
Agents into Brand Champions and Customers into Evangelists
Among the top five providers of customer service applications, salesforce.com was the fastest
growing by revenue in 2007 (Source: IDC, "Worldwide Customer Service Applications 2008 Vendor
Shares: Economic Uncertainty Will Drive Service Applications," Doc # 213028, July 2008).
Thousands of customers around the world such as Qualcomm, Transunion, Corporate Express, and
Misys have already standardised on Salesforce CRM Customer Service & Support. According to
Gartner, at least 75% of customer contact centres will use a form of SaaS by 2013 (Gartner, Magic
Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centres, Maoz, March 19, 2008).
Traditional customer service and support vendors’ “search and hope” approach using keyword
search technology has been riddled with failure: Customers struggle because they can’t find the
right answer to their questions through Web-based self-service portals, and call centre agents are
more challenged than ever to help customers due to the large amount and complexity of information
buried in their knowledge bases.
According to IDC, searchers fail to find what they are looking for 30-50% of the time
(Source: IDC, "Microsoft Buys Powerset Up the Web Search Ante," Doc # lcUS 21330608, July 2008).
InStranet has solved the customer service and support challenge by taking a completely
different approach to knowledge base management through its patented knowledge base Dimensions
technology, which adds the customer’s context, such as product or geography, to the knowledge base
to quickly hone in on the right solution and eliminate irrelevant search results.
This powerful technology provides call centre agents with accurate answers to customer
questions at an unmatched speed and greatly improves customers’ Web-based self-service experience,
drastically reducing the number of calls to call centre agents by frustrated customers. Given that
Yankee Group estimates that a customer service call costs $5.50 on average (Yankee Group, Great
Expectations: Self Service Success Can Happen, Kingstone, May 2006), InStranet’s customers are
saving money and providing higher levels of customer satisfaction.
In addition, because of the technology’s open architecture, it provides rapid time to value,
with deployments taking place in weeks as opposed to months. This approach has found tremendous
customer success in the most demanding enterprises, including some of the world’s largest call
centres supporting more than 35,000 agents.
Salesforce.com is adding this technology innovation as a key component to Salesforce CRM
Customer Service & Support, enhancing its Call Centre and Customer Portal applications in use
today by thousands of companies around the world.
“Salesforce CRM Customer Service & Support has already revolutionised our support centres
by bringing the benefits of SaaS to our support personnel around the globe,” said Peter Rubenacker,
vice president, Information Technology, Qualcomm. “The addition of this knowledge base Dimensions
technology provides a valuable extension of their platform.”
"This technology has had a significant impact on our ability to rapidly launch new clients
and maximise our agents’ efficiency. Our 7,000 customer service representatives use the solution on
a daily basis, and I see further growth potential,” said Alan Giles, CTO, Transcom. “InStranet
discovered how to filter out the noise created by the explosion of information that customers and
agents must navigate. The combination of InStranet's technology and Salesforce CRM makes a lot of
Salesforce.com Acquires InStranet
Salesforce.com’s acquisition of InStranet closed on August 4, 2008, for approximately $31.5
million, which includes the assumption of $4.2 million in cash on InStranet’s balance sheet. This
acquisition does not have an impact on salesforce.com’s results for the second quarter of fiscal
year 2009, which will be announced today.
InStranet is headquartered in Chicago, IL, with most of its operations in Paris, France. As
part of its ongoing commitment to customer success, salesforce.com will continue to support
InStranet customers and plans to fully integrate the seasoned InStranet management team and
Additional information will be available during salesforce.com’s quarterly results call
scheduled for 2:00pm PT/5:00 pm/ET today. Press, analysts, and investors may access the event by
Salesforce.com is the world’s largest provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software. For more information about salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), visit: www.salesforce.com.
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