Social CRM: M&A deals indicate market consolidation. Who’s Next?

In the past few days, we have seen two major acquisitions in the Social CRM space. First, Attensity Group acquired Social Media Monitoring Leader Biz360 followed by acquisition of social monitoring startup Scout Labs by Lithium Technologies. This signals maturing of Social CRM market as marketers start spending IT and marketing budgets on tools and technology to engage customers on Social Media channels. This is just the start of consolidation in this space as “niche” players add more functionality to their product offering through M&A.

Real game changer will be acquisition by Enterprise Solutions major like Oracle or SAP of vendors offering Community Platforms, Social Media Monitoring and Social Network Analytics functionality to extend their Enterprise Solutions capability in this area.

As I predicted in my first post of this year published on January 2nd, 2010 is surely turning out to be the Year of Social CRM.

What do you think? Who’s next in this M&A spree?

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14 responses to “Social CRM: M&A deals indicate market consolidation. Who’s Next?

  1. Great post HarishFrom being with arguably the first vendor that was acquired in this space (Techrigy by Alterian), I've been watching it actively after (Filtrbox, BuzzGain, Biz360, Scoutlabs) have been purchased. I'm right with you that there will be quite a few more purchases and my gut feeling says it will be sysomos, social radar and radian6 will be next. One point that I haven't see anyone bring up is how much longer will it be until google, microsoft or IBM enter this market.Jim ReynoldsBusiness Development – Social MediaAlterian@jimmyrey

  2. Michael Fraietta

    Hey Harish,I agree with both you and Jimmy in that monitoring is just a piece (an extremely important piece) of the Social CRM puzzle. I even think we will see Social CRM change significantly as users from external communities answer each other questions as users will have access to the monitoring consoles based on their participation and incentives. Mike Fraietta I Director of Social Media I Jive Software I @MikeFraietta

  3. Harish,Good read. I wonder if some will venture into the Partnership model as well, rather than consolidate. Let the business that are experts be experts and open up their technology and allow others to plug and play? Less integration and no need to merge platforms. May be cheaper for all involved?Mike P | @mikepascucciEktron Social Strategist

  4. Thanks Jim Reynolds @jimmyrey for visiting my blog and for your comment. I agree that we will see involvement of Google, Microsoft and IBM in the Social Media space. In fact, I am surprised that we haven't seen any big moves from them so far. But looking at the reach and effectiveness of Social Media/Networking tools and technology, and the fundamental way it shifts users' online behavior, I think any dominant tech company HAS to take a lead in Social Media space too – to continue to be in its leadership position. This applies equally to Google, Microsoft and IBM. And looking at the phenomenal growth rate of Social Networking “user” base, we can expect all three to announce initiatives in this direction sooner than later.Thanks again for your comment and kind words, much appreciated!Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  5. Thanks Mike @MikeFraietta for your comment:Yes, monitoring is an extremely important piece. As more Social Media channels emerge over time, users will have better access to monitoring tools. More importantly, brand managers/marketers will have access text based analytics s/w that will analyze and report in real time, and will trigger appropriate BPM work flows. All these technologies exist today and are slowly coming together in a big way.Thanks again for your comment, much appreciated!Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  6. Thanks Mike @mikepascucci for your comment:Yes – This is a distinct possibility. Two key issues I see going forward for Social CRM are:a) Integration with “Traditional” CRM systems for customer profile info, support history etc.. and b) Ownership of vast amount of data generated by Social NetworksFor plug and play to happen, data has to flow seamlessly among different Social CRM apps, traditional CRM/ERP apps and Social Networks in such a way that all data quality, privacy norms etc.. are adhered to. I guess we have some very interesting times ahead of us in Social CRM space!Thanks again for visiting my blog and for sharing your thoughts!Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  7. It appears that I spoke a little early IBM has now entered the market.http://mashable.com/2010/05/11/ibm-social-media…No worries for visiting the blog, it's always fun to speculate on upcoming M&A in this space.

  8. Thanks Jim Reynolds @jimmyrey for the comment. This indicates the speed at which #scrm market is consolidating or maturing! It is surprising even for thought leaders on the subject!Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  9. Good topic of discussion, Harish.I was having a conversation with Brent Leary the other day and, as usual, he said something really smart and eloquent. “The difference between web presence and presence on the web is eroding.” Ultimately, that's social CRM's reason for being. Of course, people need a web presence, but they really need to be present on the web. That's why the Scout Labs acquisition made sense for us and for our customers. Once you've come to the conclusion that your strategy involves being active on the social web wherever social customers are congregrating, you need to monitor, map, and measure that so you know what to do, where to do it, and how you're doing.As Lyle Fong, our CEO, put it in his blog post: SCRM is (social customer) + (relationship management) not so much social + (customer relationship management).In that sense, I think the importance of an acquisition by SAP or Oracle in this space might be overstated. It would certainly signal a consolidation and it would signal the readiness of the traditional platform vendors to spend money to embrace the social web. But neither Oracle nor SAP actually brings much to the “social customer” part of the equation, and that's where all of the interesting action and foment is at the moment.Once those guys get into the game in earnest, and of course they will eventually, SCRM will become more of a systems discussion and less of a people discussion.Let's hope that doesn't happen for at least a couple of more years!Regards,Phil SofferVP Product MarketingLithium

  10. Thanks Phil @phsoffer for sharing your thoughts:I agree with @BrentLeary that difference between web presence and presence on the web is eroding. And yes, Scout Labs acquisition makes sense for Lithium. In my opinion, this is just the start of consolidation in this space as “niche” players add more functionality to their product offering through M&A – community platform vendors acquiring monitoring platforms etc..I appreciate your views on acquisition by SAP or Oracle in this space. But given the reach and impact of Social Media, all major tech players will have to have a presence in this space – this includes not only SAP and Oracle – but Google, Microsoft and IBM as well.I have highlighted importance of acquisition by Oracle and SAP in Social CRM space because they are major (or should I say giant) Enterprise Solution vendors. They have tremendous user base actively using their applications. This gives them phenomenal reach not available to smaller players and they can easily cross-promote Social CRM apps with their other applications. If and when, they do acquire a Social CRM company, that will be the real game changer.Thanks again for your insightful comments, much appreciated!Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  11. And doesn’t Google already play in social media monitoring? 🙂

    BTW, Google is in everyone’s industry, so the question is never “will Google enter?” but “when?”

    Maria Ogneva
    @themaria @attensity360 (used to be @biz360)

  12. And doesn't Google already play in social media monitoring? 🙂 BTW, Google is in everyone's industry, so the question is never “will Google enter?” but “when?”Maria Ogneva@themaria @attensity360 (used to be @biz360)

  13. Thanks @themaria for your comment. Your are right, Google does play in Social Media monitoring and the question is not of “If” but “When”. Given the size and scale of Google’s operation and also given the fact that Social Media is fundamentally changing the way people search for information on the internet, there by impacting Google’s revenue model, we can expect Google to launch some big Social Media initiatives very soon. And once a leading player like Google takes initiative, others like Microsoft and IBM will quickly follow suit. We are in for some exciting times ahead.Winner in all this are the consumers or users of the technology.Thanks again for your comment.Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  14. Thanks @themaria for your comment. Your are right, Google does play in Social Media monitoring and the question is not of “If” but “When”. Given the size and scale of Google's operation and also given the fact that Social Media is fundamentally changing the way people search for information on the internet, there by impacting Google's revenue model, we can expect Google to launch some big Social Media initiatives very soon. And once a leading player like Google takes initiative, others like Microsoft and IBM will quickly follow suit. We are in for some exciting times ahead.Winner in all this are the consumers or users of the technology.Thanks again for your comment.Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

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