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What are the implications of the Salesforce acquisition of Demandware?

Buying Demandware has helped Salesforce round out its portfolio in order to offer end-to-end technology for the customer journey, expert Brent Leary explains.

Last month's purchase of Demandware Inc.'s cloud e-commerce software brings a much-needed digital commerce component to the Salesforce Customer Success Platform. The resulting Commerce Cloud, when combined with the Marketing and Sales Clouds, will allow Salesforce to offer products that complete the entire customer journey.

Companies like Oracle and SAP already offer cloud e-commerce technologies, which made the Salesforce acquisition of Demandware critically important. Like the purchase of SteelBrick's configure, price, quoting technology in December 2015, Demandware fills in gaps in the Salesforce portfolio and allows the customer relationship management (CRM) vendor to offer the types of complex products and services that customers expect.

In this digital economy, where even offline transactions at stores are tied together with online interactions of some sort, things have to be efficiently connected. You want to be able to have the information you need in order to make the best interaction opportunity available, and be able to repeat that interaction successfully, with components that come together almost seamlessly. This requires more than just the traditional components of sales, marketing and support.

Components that are not traditional in nature are very much as important to the whole customer engagement process now. I think this is why Oracle and SAP, and now Salesforce, have combined CRM with commerce: You need to put together a digital commerce piece to go along with a digital marketing piece that can handle the end-to-end customer journey.

It's been done before, but as usual, whenever there's a Salesforce acquisition -- particularly at a magnitude like this -- it really causes the whole industry to take a big look at what's going on.     

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