Yesterday, Salesforce.com acquired RelateIQ for $390 million. With Dreamforce right around the corner, this was a significant — and smart — move on the part of Salesforce.com to show the industry that it is finally serious about data intelligence, which it completely lacked in its customer-relationship management (CRM) offerings to date.
The movement to predictive from these big automation players is finally happening. Just look at Marketo, Oracle’s Eloqua, and Salesforce.com. Their experiences and workflows feel ancient and messy. With the rise of innovative companies applying big data intelligence, such as Waze, Amazon.com, Facebook, and many others, considerable interest, expectations and thus pressure has been placed on sales and marketing-automation companies to step up the intelligence of their applications too — to move beyond being just basic data bookkeeping services. There’s just too much hype, demand and real results to shy away from predictive.
As the world moves to predictive, the big question is if these automation players can integrate predictive properly. Is Salesforce.com ready to make the hard trade-offs to support predictive-first by designing a system around data intelligence? Or will third parties be able to innovate faster outside the core?
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