Battle for Cloud CRM heats up as Cos push for social features

by Ashwani Mishra    Nov 16, 2011

After Oracle acquired RightNow Technologies, a provider of cloud-based customer service, for approximately $1.5 billion last month; its competitor Salesforce.com snapped Model Metrics, a mobile and social cloud consulting services company yesterday.

Salesforce.com’s software-as-a-service customer relationship management (CRM) offering competes with Oracle’s own suite of applications and CRM software.

While RightNow will provide Oracle with customer services via the Web, social networks and call centres; Model Metrics will aid Salesforce.com to add mobile and social expertise, allowing the company to further transform customers and empower its global partner ecosystem.

“The addition of Model Metrics’ mobile and social expertise will accelerate our ability to lead the shift to the social enterprise and empower partners to develop their social enterprise practice,” says George Hu, COO, Salesforce.com

Nucleus Research today released a report titled CRM Technology Value Matrix that reveals how CRM applications are evolving with new functionality, including sales effectiveness and enablement, social capabilities, marketing, and web optimization with trends towards mobile application support.

As per the report Oracle, Salesforce.com and Microsoft are the leading vendors in the current Value Matrix.

Last month, Microsoft announced the availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM November 2011 service update. The latest Dynamics CRM update focuses on the online version of the customer relationship management software, social software features, and integration with Office 365.

Industry experts believe that the rivalry between Microsoft and Salesforce.com will get more intense, as Dynamics CRM Online prepares to join the Microsoft Office 365 cloud suite.

“CRM decision makers today are looking beyond simply tracking and measuring sales force or customer service activity at a lower cost. They want access to tools that will make individual performers more productive, keeping mobile access and collaborative capabilities high on their checklist,” says Rebecca Wettemann, Vice President of Research, Nucleus Research.

Social CRM capabilities such as microblogging, conversations and automated activity update integration have been included in some of these new packages, while customer self-service and enhanced web support capabilities with mobile innovation as a focus are anticipated in near future releases.

A Springboard Research report on the Salesforce, India website states that “With today’s consumers becoming increasingly mobile and well informed, enterprises must follow suit. A mobile enterprise can experience a range of business benefits including operational efficiency and enhanced customer interaction and engagement. The resulting upside in productivity, revenue and market share cannot be ignored by Indian CXOs.”

Examples of cloud computing companies include Web behemoths like Amazon and Google, which offer a variety of services (data storage or email, for example), as well as companies like salesforce.com, which helps businesses manage customer relationships via social networks.