As the enterprise CRM battle continues to heat up, Oracle is countering the latest iteration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with a strategic acquisition. Just days after announcing Oracle CRM on Demand Release 19, the technology behemoth has snapped up InQuira.
InQuira is a provider of knowledge-management software that supports web self-service and agent-assisted service. The privately held company headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area boasts more than 85 blue-chip customers, including Yahoo, 3M, Sprint Nextel, McAfee, Nationwide, Juniper Networks, and Pitney Bowes.
"The acquisition of InQuira provides Oracle with a complete knowledge-management suite integrated with self-service support, online customer forums, and agent-assisted CRM," said Anthony Lye, senior vice president of Oracle CRM. "We expect InQuira to be the centerpiece for Oracle Fusion CRM Service. With InQuira, Oracle will provide an integrated suite of proven solutions that deliver a comprehensive and highly personalized experience for every customer, across all channels."
Oracle sees a need for companies to provide a high-value, differentiated customer experience online and in the contact center. It's betting InQuira's solutions will improve customer service and satisfaction by helping them find more relevant answers to questions online or from a service agent guided by a scalable knowledge-management platform.
InQuira has proven its worth in the CRM marketplace with record-breaking growth in customers and revenue in 2010. In May, InQuira won the Technology Services Industry Association Recognized Innovator Award for innovation in knowledge management.
The company continues to push out new products, most recently InQuira On Demand, an on-demand subscription pricing-based version of its InQuira for Web Self Service and InQuira for Contact Centers. The offering includes packaged integration with leading CRM applications such as Oracle CRM on Demand.
"Knowledge-driven enterprise service, support and sales processes have become a 'must' in today's world of information overload and business complexity," said Mike Murphy, CEO of InQuira. "Investments in established technologies like CRM and new social channels add transactional capabilities but create new challenges for organizations to drive a consistent knowledge experience across multiple customer touch points."
A Multibillion-Dollar Market
All the activity in the CRM market this year is no surprise. In February, Gartner predicted the market would enter a three-year shake-up in 2011, as a number of key trends take hold, according to Gartner. Sales, marketing and customer-service technologies, projects and implementations will all see rapid changes over the next few years, the firm reported.
By 2013, spending on social software to support sales, marketing and customer-service processes is expected to exceed $1 billion worldwide. That compares with Gartner's forecast of more than $12 billion in spending on CRM software in 2012, and means that social CRM will encompass approximately eight percent of all CRM spending in 2012, up from about four percent in 2010.
"CRM is one of the big battlegrounds for business-solutions providers. It is one of the areas that's been heating up significantly," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "Companies are conceding that customer retention is a strategic focus during this time of tepid recovery because the cost of customer acquisition is so high. Companies are increasingly investing in advanced tools to serve customers. Clearly, Oracle is moving on that opportunity. And so are others."