Yesterday Salesforce.com announced the acquisition of Dimdim for $31 million in cash. The press release notes the ‘Acquisition will extend Salesforce.com’s Chatter collaboration platform with critical real-time communication technologies’. Dimdim provides real-time collaboration features in its browser based web conferencing platform including the ability to white board and share documents.
Salesforce seems to have set itself apart from other CRM software vendors in its understanding of social networking and its ability to embrace it within its product sets. Chatter, with 60,000 customers having deployed it, has clearly been a huge success, and the Dimdim deal is a clear commitment to maintain that momentum.
I suspect what we’re seeing in the CRM market at the moment is a shift potentially as significant as the rise of the software as a service (SAAS) model – pioneered by Salesforce – which saw a huge number of new CRM software companies enter the market. The provision of social networking capabilities as part of a CRM offering will provide opportunities for new vendors to enter the market, particularly as many of the existing CRM vendors seem to have been curiously slow to respond.
It will be interesting to see if the success of Chatter stings other software vendors into action. The social dimensions of CRM technology are going to become increasingly important and those without them will inevitably start to suffer. I suspect 2011 will prove a lively year for new product announcements and further mergers and acquisitions.