Salesforce.com is increasing its position in social CRM by buying social-media monitoring firm Radian6. Radian6 monitors hundreds of millions of social-media conversations every day on behalf of such companies as Dell, GE, Kodak, Molson Coors, PepsiCo and UPS. The acquisition involves about $276 million in cash and $50 million in stock.
The environments monitored in real time by Radian6 include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and other online communities. Salesforce said the acquisition will extend the value of its Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Chatter and Force.com offerings by providing business intelligence and capabilities related to social media.
'New Norm of Customer Engagement'
Radian6 CEO Marcel LeBrun told news media that his company's technology is "built for the new norm of customer engagement -- real time, two-way conversations that include social channels."
The company's products include a monitoring platform that helps analyze social-media campaigns and an engagement platform to help companies connect with online community members. These are intended to improve marketing and selling products, maintain customer service, and manage online reputations.
Radian6 said more than half of the Fortune 100 companies use its products. In its announcement, Salesforce pointed to a shift to what it calls Cloud 2. In Cloud 1, according to Salesforce, technologies were leveraged to be inexpensive, fast, easy to use, and available on the desktop. In Cloud 2, the company said, technologies are "social, mobile and open."
Among other utilizations, Salesforce plans to use Radian6 to help create a bridge between public social networks, such as Facebook, and its private Chatter social network for enterprises. Chatter feeds will now contain information that reflects comments on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other environments.
For Force.com, Salesforce sees Radian6 as offering an opportunity for developers to build the social web into apps.
Integration with New Service Cloud
Social media for the enterprise has emerged as a major emphasis for Salesforce's new products. Earlier this month, for instance, it announced "the next generation of social contact centers," Service Cloud 3. It positioned the updated software-as-a-service platform as "customer service for the social era."
Service Cloud 3 was designed to let organizations more completely engage with customers in social communities such as Twitter or Facebook. To facilitate that, the platform included integration with a Radian6 app.
A key selling point of the new Service Cloud upgrade is that it allows companies to scale up quickly to analyze millions of conversations that involve their products or service. Real-time reports and customizable dashboards offer social-channel analyses, customer-conversation analyses, and social dashboards for identifying trends.
Comments in Facebook, for instance, can be filtered by the number of friends a commenter has, assumedly indicating how influential that person is. Facebook names can also be tied into customer records.
Facebook wall posts and comments can be converted into cases with Service Cloud 3, and Twitter conversations can similarly become cases -- with agents joining in the conversation.