Oracle’s Acquisition of InQuira Too Late To Be Big News
I suppose my nose is out of joint because I found out Oracle acquired InQuira, a leading knowledge management and search vendor, by reading about it in the San Jose Mercury News this morning. If you want any indication of how this acquisition will fare for InQuira and its customers, the fact that I didn’t even get a courtesy call or email–and I do more KM inquiries from technology buyers than just about any analyst in the world–and that the analysts quoted in the press releases were the usual Oracle ERP analysts who don’t know anything about CRM or knowledge management, tells me this IP won’t be available as standalone for long.
I remember asking Oracle many years ago–probably 2002 or 2003–why they continued to partner for KM instead of acquiring or building their own solution, and their answer was blunt but truthful, “We’ve never lost a CRM deal by not having imbedded KM.” Obviously that’s not the case anymore.
Not only has Oracle lost tremendous marketshare of CRM to Salesforce.com, but Salesforce has also started raising their visibility for KM. Here’s some data.
Back in 2006–the first year I did the annual Member Technology Survey, Siebel/Oracle/PeopleSoft dominated the market, with 33% of high tech companies using their CRM platforms. But oh, have times have changed. By 2011, Salesforce increased their ownership share to 46%, while Oracle’s has dropped to 14%. Of course, the average deal size for Salesforce’s OnDemand CRM products is dramatically lower than Oracle or Siebel’s OnPremise tools, so the overall CRM industry has shrunken by millions of dollars over this period as well.
But Salesforce hasn’t just been working on building their CRM marketshare. Check out these adoption numbers for Knowledge Management tools from the 2011 survey:
14% of members are using Salesforce’s increasingly sophisticated KM tools, thanks to Salesforce investing in KM technology such as the 2008 acquisition of Instranet. So it appears that KM is playing a role in CRM purchases.
Oracle says InQuira will be leveraged in the release of Fusion applications, but now that Fusion is 6 years late to the market, I don’t think anyone is still holding their breath waiting for the apps to come to light. And unless they have completely revolutionized the way CRM works, even if the product is launched I don’t know if they can overcome their extended years of inertia. They also have tremendous internal problems to overcome, which I am no longer convinced is even possible. The Oracle application sales teams have become so siloed that recently, when a company using Oracle’s JDEdwards for CRM wanted to add on field service from Siebel or Oracle, their sales rep refused to even demo it for them, told them the two products could never integrate, and they could buy JDEdwards field service (which is thin, to say the least) or do without.
Those sorts of brand conflicts within a company show how much trouble can arise from buying multiple CRM suites and never doing any integration or consolidation work. The amount of squandered potential and good will is hard to recover from.
Thanks for reading!