The biggest news in customer service in the past quarter (3Q2011) was the October 24th announcement of Oracle’s intention to purchase RightNow. In a bit less than 12 months, Oracle has acquired three customer service suppliers: ATG, InQuira, and RightNow. All three address gaps in Oracle’s product offering. Let’s take a closer look at these purchases.
Oracle acquired ATG for its ecommerce software and customer base. ATG Commerce has been the leading ecommerce system among high-end retailers for many years. The acquisition also gave Oracle some attractive customer service offerings: ATG Instant Service and ATG Knowledge. ATG InstantService is a cloud-based chat offering that ATG acquired in January 2010. ATG Knowledge is a knowledge management offering based on technology that ATG received when it bought Primus Knowledge Solutions in 2004. Of the two, ATG Instant Service is more valuable to Oracle. It can be deployed to provide chat-based escalation from self-service to assisted-service for any of Oracle’s self-service ecommerce and customer service applications. Regarding ATG Knowledge, ATG has maintained, but has not improved, its capabilities since they redeveloped it in JAVA and deployed it on the ATG Wisdom platform. (Primus was originally built on the Windows platform.) While there are still a few Primus customers, we don’t think that Oracle will be any more aggressive than ATG was with the product, perhaps simply maintaining it.