• March 30, 2011
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Salesforce.com Acquires Radian6

After two or three months of speculation that such a deal might occur, Salesforce.com put an end to the rumors today by announcing its acquisition of Radian6, a provider of one of the top social media monitoring platforms, for approximately $276 million in cash and $50 million in stock. The transaction is expected to close before July 31.

Founded in 2006, Radian6's unique technology captures hundreds of millions of conversations every day across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs, and online communities, and provides actionable insights in real time. The company’s products include a monitoring platform designed to help companies track and analyze their social media efforts, as well as an engagement platform to help companies connect with individuals and communities online.

With the combination of Salesforce and Radian6, companies will be able to bring the heart of the public social Web into salesforce.com's applications and platforms including:

  • Sales and Service Cloud: By combining Radian6's social media monitoring and engagement platform with Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, companies will be able to keep customer success at the center of their businesses with real-time social intelligence.
  • Salesforce Chatter: Radian6 and salesforce will create the bridge between public social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and online communities, and Salesforce Chatter, the private, secure social network for the enterprise. Chatter feeds will no longer just contain the activity happening within the walls of a company, but will be filled with real-time insights from fans on Facebook pages, followers on Twitter, comments on blog posts, and more.
  • Force.com Platform: Developers will be able to build apps that tap into the power of Radian6, putting the social Web into everything they build.

"With Radian6, salesforce.com is gaining the technology and market leader in social media monitoring," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com, in a statement. "We see this as a huge opportunity. Not only will this acquisition accelerate our growth, it will extend the value of all of our offerings."

"Social media has made every business recognize the value of paying attention to the voice of the customer. Radian6's technology is built for the new norm of customer engagement - real time, two-way conversations that include social channels," Marcel LeBrun, CEO of Radian6, said in a statement. "Joining the salesforce team will allow Radian6 to grow faster to meet the demands of our rapidly expanding customer base."

But Salesforce.com is the real winner in this acquisition, according to many industry watchdogs. Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group, for example, said the move makes Salesforce.com “a real powerhouse in social CRM.”

“What Salesforce is doing here is strengthening its position in the market significantly,” Greenberg says. “Salesforce becomes now even more the company to beat.”

Radian6, which is based in New Brunswick, Canada, also brings to the table a strong partnership ecosystem, a talented team and developer community, an enterprise focus, and a strong customer base. As many companies adopt social media to engage with their customers, Radian6's customer base expanded rapidly. Among its 2,400 customers are leading global brands like AAA, Dell, GE, Kodak, Molson Coors, Pepsico, UPS, and more than half of the Fortune 100.

“Radian6 has been growing like crazy,” Greenberg says. “They’re not necessarily filling a void for Salesforce but allowing it to compete in an ecosystem that they’ve been trying to expand for a while.”

Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of Beagle Research, agrees. “Salesforce.com for a long time has been adding social media to its offerings,” he says. “Bringing in Radian6 for social media monitoring makes a lot of sense.

“As salesforce builds out its application suite for the 21st Century, it becomes vitally important that they have the tools and resources to address modern business needs. This gives them that,” Pombriant adds.

Though it’s too early to start talking about product integrations and roadmaps, Greenberg doesn’t anticipate a problem there. “If the integration of the salesforce.com and Radian6 products goes as well as expected, salesforce will be able to play in the areas where it’s traditionally excelled, but it will also become the dominant force in social media listening platforms,” he says.

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