Each quarter we review the state of the customer service industry by providing updates on the nine top suppliers (after industry consolidation): Astute, Attensity, Consona, eGain, IntelliResponse, Kana, Moxie, Oracle, and Salesforce.com.
The first quarter of 2012 was not a good quarter in customer service. After a big 1Q2011, 2011 faded through the next three quarters as customer growth and financial performance were mixed, and product and company activity were relatively light. The fade has continued into 1Q2012.
But no fading for Salesforce.com. SFDC had another huge quarter, continuing its string of consecutive quarters, the latest better than the previous. IntelliResponse had some large deals and shifted from educational institutions to more commercial accounts.
The surprise in Q1 was Oracle RightNow. After Oracle’s acquisition of RightNow closed on January 25, Oracle RightNow began operating as a Global Business Unit, hiring aggressively and introducing regular, quarterly product releases. When Oracle announced its intent to acquire RightNow on October 24, 2011, we felt and we wrote that, post-acquisition, RightNow could quickly lose its identity and its brand and its product could disappear within Oracle’s very large software portfolio. Not the case. No losers in this acquisition. The new Oracle RightNow is bigger and is growing faster than the old RightNow.
Salesforce.com launched a new entry-level customer service offering called Desk.com, which is based on the technology that it obtained in its September 12, 2011 acquisition of Assistly. The firm also launched Salesforce Rypple, its first HCM/HR application that adds social networking to performance management. The product is based on the technology that came to Salesforce.com in its December 15, 2011 acquisition of Rypple.
In fact, Salesforce.com and Oracle make us optimistic for the remainder of 2012. All of the other suppliers have new and refreshed offerings that can help organizations address requirements, especially for social-service and for customer service processes. It’s an election year in the U.S. The economy, certainly the corporate world, appears to be growing. Corporate growth means more customers, and more customers means more customer service.