RightNow to acquire Social Software Platform Vendor HiveLive

September 9, 2009
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200909081630.jpg Today SaaS CRM vendor RightNow announced its intent to acquire HiveLive, a full featured social software platform for ~$6M in cash. OK, this isn’t Oracle announcing that it’s buying Sun and I suppose it would be easy to skip over this one but I think this move by RightNow is interesting on several levels. There’s the obvious good news that HiveLive’s solution adds robust social CRM capabilities to RightNow’s already strong customer service offerings…more on that in a minute. The other not so obvious thing though is the nagging thought that this could be the start of an acquisition frenzy among established software vendors that need to add significant social capabilities to their products or risk loosing an edge with emerging social businesses and their need for enterprise class social solutions. There’s a lot of innovation happening in the many enterprise social software start ups that I’ve looked at recently, the same kind of innovation that end users are starting to look for. Some of the larger software vendors are starting to build out some social capabilities but for a real jump start they will most likely look to the current innovative start ups which are

200909081630.jpg Today SaaS CRM vendor RightNow announced its intent to acquire HiveLive,
a full featured social software platform for ~$6M in cash. OK, this
isn’t Oracle announcing that it’s buying Sun and I suppose it would be
easy to skip over this one but I think this move by RightNow is
interesting on several levels. There’s the obvious good news that
HiveLive’s solution adds robust social CRM capabilities to RightNow’s
already strong customer service offerings…more on that in a minute.
The other not so obvious thing though is the nagging thought that this
could be the start of an acquisition frenzy among established software
vendors that need to add significant social capabilities to their
products or risk loosing an edge with emerging social businesses and
their need for enterprise class social solutions. There’s a lot of
innovation happening in the many enterprise social software start ups
that I’ve looked at recently, the same kind of innovation that end
users are starting to look for. Some of the larger software vendors are
starting to build out some social capabilities but for a real jump
start they will most likely look to the current innovative start ups
which are, I might add, very reasonably priced in our current economic
environment (and not likely to get any cheaper).

So what does HiveLive bring to RightNow? It should be no surprise to
anyone who reads this blog that I think enterprise social solutions are
rapidly gaining in importance and creating a real opportunity for
businesses to transform the way they do business. This opportunity is
especially strong and provides high potential for value to businesses
in the customer facing functions from sales and marketing to product
marketing / management and customer service. The social web is bringing
about a sorts of changes in consumer / customer behavior that are today
outside the boundaries for most businesses. Conversations happen about
brands in online destinations but can you listen or respond to them?
Customers are relying on their trusted social networks for product and
support advice. Their turning to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. to
express themselves. RightNow has the opportunity of integrating a
social platform tightly into its customer service, sales and marketing
CRM solutions so that the social world of the web can be linked to a
companies CRM processes. If the integration is complete (the press
release sets November ’09 for the availability of the “tightly”
integrated solution) the new solution could be very interesting to
businesses who are looking to change and improve the way they interact
with their customers. HiveLive’s platform could enable:

  • Customer communities for customer to customer support
  • Communities for creating innovation: crowdsourcing or ideasourcing new product ideas and product improvements
  • Incorporate blogs and wiki’s as a part of the customer experience and to foster dialog and engagement
  • Use wiki type functionality to enhance RightNow’s knowledge base offering through incorporating user generated content
  • Facilitating a customer loyalty program that could include communities or social networks
  • Self-managed customer groups
  • Content sharing
  • Social analytics tied to CRM analytics

It will be interesting to see the new, integrated CRM solution as
the integration is completed. I also suspect we’ll be seeing many more
announcements in this “space” in the coming months.