Salesforce.com makes US$31.5 million acquisition

Acquisition of InStranet boosts Salesforce's CRM customer service and support.

Salesforce.com has beefed up its Salesforce CRM customer service and support offering, following the company's US$31.5 million acquisition of InStranet.

With knowledge base 'Dimensions' technology added to the offering, call center agents can now provide faster and better service, Salesforce.com said.

"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 software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and Force.com platform."

"This is an exciting opportunity for all of us at InStranet, and will be a huge leap forward for the SaaS market," said Alex Dayon, founder and CEO of InStranet.

Improving customer service

According to Salesforce.com, traditional CRM solutions use keyword search technology, forcing call center agents to go through large amounts of complex information. Customers also struggle because they are unable to find the right answers through web-based self-service portals.

The problem is serious. According to IDC, searchers fail to find what they are looking for 30 to 50 percent of the time.

'Dimensions' technology 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, Salesforce.com claims.

Consequently, call center agents are equipped with accurate answers to customer enquiries and can respond quickly.

Fiscal second quarter growth

The SaaS provider posted US$263.1 million in total revenue for the fiscal second quarter of 2009 (Q2 2009), which ended July 31, 2008. The figure was up 49 percent year-on-year and a 6 percent increase from the previous fiscal quarter.

Subscription and support revenues accounted for US$239.7 million in Q2 2009, up 50 percent year-on-year. Professional services and other revenues rose by 41 percent year-on-year to reach US$23.4 million.

The company is optimistic about its fiscal third quarter 2009 performance, projecting total revenue of between US$273 million and US$274 million.

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