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What's behind the expansion of the Salesforce CRM platform?

The Salesforce CRM platform has been growing quickly with one acquisition after another. Expert Brent Leary discusses the possible motivation behind the quick expansion.

The goal seems to be fleshing out the Salesforce CRM platform with additional services, but some of these purchases seemingly make more sense than others.

Since the beginning of the year, Salesforce's acquisition roster includes Coolan, Demandware, Implisit, MetaMind, Quip, and PredictionIO, as well as SteelBrick, a configure price quote application, in late 2015. While most of these acquisitions seem to enhance the Salesforce CRM platform, some of the acquisitions don't quite fit.

The acquisitions are coming fast and furious and the company doesn't seem to be limiting itself to one area of expansion. It is constantly in acquisition mode.

Some acquisitions have focused on bringing intelligence to the Salesforce platform, such as the purchases of MetaMind and Implisit.

Quip perhaps doesn't initially fit the mold of what you think Salesforce would need in terms of customer engagement and isn't necessarily in the Salesforce wheelhouse. I think Microsoft's purchase of LinkedIn, a social networking site, spurred Salesforce to purchase Quip as a tit-for-tat maneuver to edge in on Microsoft's core business in content collaboration with services like Office 365, especially since it had its eye on LinkedIn but lost out to Microsoft in the end.

The Coolan acquisition is the equivalent of Quip but for hardware. It should help you find out where there is a potential problem in terms of hardware, but it doesn't initially match with the customer engagement side of Salesforce. However, the acquisition could have something to do with Salesforce’s recent data outage and providing perhaps an answer for reassuring its customer base that it is better prepared for preventing another issue.

Demandware, which Salesforce acquired in June, was a notable purchase, enabling Salesforce to add an e-commerce component. I think the acquisition is about being able to do the actual transaction online not just stopping at digital marketing.

The acquisitions mainly are important to customer expansion and developing the customer experience. This seems to what is at the heart of the Salesforce CRM platform expansion.

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