Last month in CRM Software – CRM news review for March 2013

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In summary: Microsoft makes another CRM acquisition, Salesforce tops up the acquisition war chest, and Oracle’s Q3 sales execution issues….

It doesn’t seem very long ago that I was suggesting that Microsoft was going to get left behind if it didn’t respond to the raft of acquisitions being made by the likes of Salesforce.com and Oracle, and perhaps not really expecting Redmond to take a great deal of action. But Redmond did respond, firstly with the purchase of social collaboration tool, Yammer, then marketing automation company MarketingPilot, and now, announced at Microsoft’s March Convergence event in New Orleans, the acquisition of Netbreeze, a Swiss social listening and analytics company.

While the latest two purchases perhaps lack the profile of some other acquisitions in the space, it’s clear that Microsoft has no interest in conceding ground to its competitors. And any doubts about the company’s ability to assimilate these purchases were at least partially addressed at Convergence with the announcement of a new of MarketingPilot version 15 with a new interface harmonised with the latest Microsoft look and feel, and integration to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, in both its online and on-premise options.

Any likelihood that the CRM acquisition frenzy is likely to die down any time soon, appeared to be dispelled by Salesforce.com’s March announcement that it plans to float $1 billion in convertible senior notes, whose potential use will include ‘funding possible acquisitions of, or investments in, complementary businesses, services or technologies.’

One of Salesforce’s potential targets, marketing automation company Marketo, announced its initial public offering in March. The IPO filing reveals revenues have increased from $14 million in 2010, to $58.4 million in 2012, though net losses also increased from $11.8 to $34.4 million in the same period. The IPO for $75 million comes on the back of Eloqua’s 2012 IPO and subsequent purchase by Oracle for $871 million, and shows how hot the marketing automation space is at the moment.

Oracle came under some scrutiny in March with a disappointing set of Q3 results. Earnings were $2.5 billion on revenues of $8.96 billion, down 1% on the previous year. New software licence and cloud subscription sales fell 2%. The company blamed sales execution issues, but analysts and commentators will be wondering if competition from the likes of Salesforce.com, Workday, Hadoop, and Rimini Street are taking their toll.

Rimini Street announced in March that the third party maintainer had doubled its sales in the Europe, Middle East and Asia region in 2012. The company is currently being sued by Oracle, but continues to gain customers. If the company wins the case, Oracle and SAP, in particular, are likely to come under considerable pressure, not only from Rimini Street, but a potential raft of new entrants to the market.

In other news Swiftpage announced it had finalised the acquisition of the Act and SalesLogix applications from Sage. It will be interesting to see whether the move will rejuvenate these two industry stalwarts.

Finally, Gartner provided some market cheer with a report that suggested software spending will increase modestly worldwide through 2014 with CRM applications identified as the top investment priority.

Anyway, that concludes my take on the news for March 2013. If I’ve missed or misunderstood anything significant please feel free to comment!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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