Salesforce.com Bets Big On Social Media Monitoring And Socialytics

Salesforce’s definitive agreement to acquire Radian6 continues the consolidation of 100′s of social software vendors in the marketplace.  Radian6, a social media monitoring and customer engagement platform, provides tools for companies seeking to harness the power of social media and related social networks.  Most customers utilize Radian6 for brand management and monitoring, sales and lead generation, Social CRM (SCRM), customer service, competitive intelligence, trend analysis, and crisis management.

The company’s focus on the enterprise has paid off with over half of the Fortune 100 deploying Radian6′s products and 1700 customers worldwide.  Marquis customers include AAA, Dell, GE, Kodak, Molson Coors, Pepsico, and UPS.  The deal represents a $256M cash and $50M stock offer.  The following is a first take analysis of how Salesforce.com envisions applying the assets of Radian6 for its customers to:

  • Bring social analytics or socialytics to the Salesforce.com offerings. Sales and Service Cloud will gain new capabilities in social media monitoring and engagement.  Today’s companies seek the tools to bring social customer strategies with existing CRM processes and organizational structures. A social media monitoring and engagement platform provides a critical tool for success in Social CRM (SCRM).

    Point of View (POV):
    While this acquisition does not solve the lack of a good analytics platform in Salesforce.com today, a Radian6 acquisition delivers social analytics or socialytics capabilities for Salesforce.com. customers.  Social media monitoring delivered by Radian6 provides the first step in the journey to engaging customers in social channels.  Advanced users often find they need to couple a sentiment analysis tool such as Clarabridge, Lymbix, SPSS, or Textlytics to improve accuracy. 

    Because Salesforce.com customers have proven to be more cutting edge in adopting disruptive technologies, natural synergies will emerge among these CRM pioneers.  Whether Salesforce.com can build an SCRM solution in parallel remains the bigger question.

  • Apply learnings to the Force.com platform. Salesforce.com hopes its developers will build new products using the Radian6 platform.  The intent is to add social elements into future products.

    POV:
    Force.com currently lacks the social graph required to build social software.  Learnings from Radian6 should help the Force.com team identify the key additions to the platform required to enable social software development.  Developers can expect these offerings to take at least 9 to 12 months to be incorporated into the platform.  More middleware components will be required in the long run.
  • Build a bridge from Chatter to public social networks. Chatter today remains within the closed walls of the enterprise.Salesforce.com sees opportunities to apply Radian6′s engagement platform to expand the capabilities of Chatter.  Expansion into public social networks opens new insights into the enterprise.

    POV:
    Users seek feeds from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social media.  Radian6′s engagement platform can quickly be applied to expand Chatter.  The integration will remove a key deficiency with Chatter, an inward only focus.  However, Salesforce.com will have to ensure that the offering meets enterprise class standards and addresses the challenge of information overload in activity streams.

The Bottom Line: Salesforce.com Going After The Five Pillars Of Consumer Technologies For
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