Well that was interesting. Salesforce bought InStranet for $31.5 million and it’s hard to get any information about the deal beyond the bare facts. I checked the Salesforce Web site when I got the news (from a competitor, of course) but I didn’t see anything there.
Maybe Salesforce is a little chagrinned at the fact that InStranet is (gulp!) a conventional software company. (InStranet enables customers to build knowledge bases for service and support applications.) I dunno. The news stories say that there will be an On-Demand version in 2009 and one story pointed out the there has been an AppExchange version since 2006.
There is no doubt that what InStranet does, content repository/knowledge base for service and support and FAQ is a necessary thing and it was one of those areas that Salesforce needed to beef up. But my questions are not so much why did they buy a conventional software company as why didn’t they build this functionality with their very own tools?
Other vendors like RightNow have pretty good capabilities in the knowledge base area so perhaps there was some KB envy going on or maybe no one wanted to wait until 2009 to debut a new and improved KB capability. Or possibly Salesforce wanted to buy the expertise into the company. My theory is that InStranet’s main base of business is in France and Salesforce was buying market share.