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M2M extends CRM footprint with e-service firm Knova

One year after buying Onyx and its CRM suite, M2M Holdings has added Knova and the firm's e-service tools to its arsenal.

M2M Holdings Inc. further extended its reach into the CRM market today with an agreement to acquire Knova Software Inc. for approximately $47 million.

In what is becoming a holiday tradition, the privately held holding company followed up last December's contentious struggle for ownership of Onyx.

M2M promised to maintain Knova's product line and enhance, maintain and support the application by integrating it.

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"Leveraging Onyx's leading service-oriented architecture and Knova's existing application programming interfaces for customer relationship management integration, the two products can be quickly integrated with one another using Web services," Jeff Tognoni, CEO of M2M Holdings, said in a statement. "In a short period of time, Onyx customers will be able to seamlessly enhance their application with sophisticated tools for the contact center, as well as with powerful Web-based self-service."

Knova itself is the combination of Oracle's acquisition of Siebel, according to John Ragsdale, vice president of research for the Service and Support Professionals Association.

"It shows [that] if you're going to be a compelling CRM competitor, you need to find specialization in one area," Ragsdale said. "Oracle and SAP have not shown much interest in e-service and instead choose to partner. I'm happy to see someone acquire an e-service vendor."

M2M will have some challenges integrating Knova because its install base is so ERP-centric and IT-heavy, making cross-sell and upsell more difficult, Ragsdale added.

"Onyx started in customer service, but at this point they're known more for facilitating sales and SFA [sales force automation]," he said. "I think it's great to add some more meat to customer service. The Knova stuff is a great marriage for any CRM vendor."

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