Why IBM’s latest 200M acquisition matters to e-commerce

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IBM has recently acquired Bluewolf – a Salesforce consultancy firm headquartered in San Francisco. Many people in the tech world have scratched their heads about this deal. Indeed, one can wonder why they acquired a consultancy firm specialised in integrations of a competing CRM solution, adding it to their portfolio.

Business Insider, an online magazine, pointed out that IBM sees Salesforce as the next SAP. Strategically CRM is going to be at the heart of many company activities. This is comparable to what SAP is for finance. When SAP introduced their Enterprise Resource Platform (ERP), a number of firms like Accenture and IBM themselves developed services and solutions for SAPs ERP. The SAP related services helped IBM to build their consultancy business to a large extent.

Getting an in-house Salesforce integration capabilities helped IBM connect their own platforms and solutions to any Salesforce system. As stated before, CRM is going to be at the heart of many company activities.

If you are looking at the importance of CRM, you will find that providing customers with excellent and automated experience will be more important than ever. In an era where customers become really price sensitive, being served in a personalized way is the only way e-commerce business can stand out.

To develop personalized experiences and automate the processes, you need customer data and that is exactly where a CRM solution like Salesforce comes in. Many companies that own and use Salesforce are looking at solutions that create personalised experiences.

Therefore, IBM buying a leading Salesforce integration consultancy makes sense. They can now position themselves as a company that can develop and implement additional services, on top of Salesforce.

In our opinion, this acquisition should be an incentive for e-commerce players to start thinking about how they can leverage on CRM in their online customer experience strategies. It is as simple as that.

This article is a contribution written by Matthieu Vermeulen, editor for AdAsia online
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