• July 29, 2011
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Oracle to Buy InQuira

Oracle has entered into an agreement to acquire InQuira, a provider of service knowledge management software that supports Web self-service and agent-assisted service. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal is expected to strengthen Oracle's Fusion CRM Service, which it has been developing slowly for the past six years and only recently put out for general availability. The Fusion suite of applications combines the best attributes of Oracle's various business software lines and includes Fusion CRM, Fusion Financials, Fusion Governance, Risk, and Compliance, Fusion Human Capital Management, Fusion Procurement, Fusion Project Portfolio Management, and Fusion Supply Chain Management.

"We expect InQuira to be the centerpiece for Oracle Fusion CRM Service," said Anthony Lye, senior vice president of Oracle CRM, in a statement. "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."

InQuira's solutions are designed to help customers find answers to their questions online through self-service portals and community forums or from agents guided by a scalable knowledge management platform. The company's solutions rely heavily on natural language processing.

"The acquisition of InQuira provides Oracle with a complete knowledge management suite, integrated with self-service support, online customer forums and agent-assisted CRM," Lye added.

Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, says the deal is a good one for Oracle because the company lacked a solid solution in the knowledge management space. "Knowledge management had been a hole for Oracle. They hadn't built out that much into the space, so this fills a gap for them," he says.

"It's a smart move for a number of reasons," Wang adds. "The knowledge management piece is critical, especially as companies move more into social media, because they can take information and share it across the enterprise."

Wang also notes that SAP was among other firms that had expressed an interest in InQuira, and this acquisition essentially takes the company's products "out of competitors' hands."

InQuira, a privately held company, counts among its customers a number of blue-chip firms, including Yahoo, 3M, Sprint, and Avis. InQuira has also partnered with IBM and SAP, and its software has been integrated with Oracle's CRM OnDemand products since 2009.

That integration with Oracle should make for a smooth transition once the deal is finalized, according to Wang. "Not a lot of work should be required [on Oracle's part] because the two companies already have partnerships in place," he says.

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