Salesforce broadens platform with call center buy

The company acquires InStranet, a call center software provider, and plans a new offering for its software-as-a-service platform.

Salesforce.com is again expanding beyond its customer-relationship management roots with an acquisition designed to broaden its service and platform.

The company has acquired InStranet, a Chicago-based maker of call center software, for approximately $31.5 million. The buy gives Salesforce.com technology that it will use both for its internal customer service purposes, and for a new software-as-a-service offering expected to launch within 18 months, the company said.

InStranet makes so-called knowledge base management software, which can improve companies self-service support functions by making it easier for customers to find answers to common support questions.

Salesforce.com plans to integrate the software--which is not currently delivered as an online service--into its software-as-a-service platform. InStranet's 44 employees, based in Chicago and Paris, will join Salesforce.com. Alex Dayon, InStranet's CEO, will become a vice president of product management at Salesforce.com, according to company representative Bruce Francis.

InStranet, founded in 1999, brings some big name customers to Salesforce.com, including U.K.-based telecommunications provider Orange, T-Mobile, Comcast, and other companies. Salesforce.com expects that its new SaaS offering, to be called Salesforce.com Knowledge Base, will give it a technological edge over competitive offerings from Oracle and SAP, the company's main rivals.

About the author

    Mike Ricciuti joined CNET in 1996. He is now CNET News' Boston-based executive editor and east coast bureau chief, serving as department editor for business technology and software covered by CNET News, Reviews, and Download.com. E-mail Mike.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Don't Miss
    Hot Products
    Trending on CNET

    HOT ON CNET

    Want affordable gadgets for your student?

    Everyday finds that will make students' lives easier: chargers, cables, headphones, and even a bona fide gadget or two!