Has CRM embraced eService…finally?
I, along with every other analyst, started predicting that CRM vendors would acquire all of the eService (knowledgebase, multi-channel service) vendors years ago. And we were wrong. As a Siebel executive once told me, “We have never lost a CRM deal because we didn’t have eService.” For a while there were a lot of partnerships and integrations, but even those have lost steam as CRM vendors started focusing solely on infrastructure (Fusion, NetWeaver) and ecosystems (AppExchange) instead of functionality.
Maybe, after all these years, CRM vendors are finally hearing that handling more than phone calls is important. Check out these two recent announcements:
- Salesforce Acquires InStranet. Last month, Salesforce.com, who has struggled to be taken seriously as a customer service vendor, announced they were acquiring InStranet. If you don’t know InStranet, they are a sexy Web 2.0 eService player, who brings some interesting new capabilities to the multi-channel content mix. For example, InStranet presents agents with a personalized Briefing Page with customized, up-to-date content specifically for their role and skill level. With integration to Salesforce, the Briefing Page can even dynamically present information customized for each customer, including ‘best fit’ upsell and cross-sell offers to extend during the live interaction.
- Oracle partners with InQuira. This week Oracle announced a strategic partnership with InQuira, finally providing the CRM giant with a story for best of breed knowledge management, search and community capabilities. This is the first functional announcement concerning CRM we’ve heard from Oracle since they went with their “all Fusion, all the time” messaging, and I think it is great news for Oracle eBusiness, Siebel and PeopleSoft customers. Rumor has it Anthony Lye, head of CRM for Oracle, will even be giving a demo of InQuira customer forums at next week’s Oracle Open World (which, even though I give CRM advice to SSPA and AFSMI members, I wasn’t invited to. But I’m not bitter.)