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Oracle hopes to improve CRM offerings with InQuira buy

Oracle plans to extend CRM offerings with knowledge management system from InQuira, which it intends to acquire.

Oracle Corp. is raising the stakes in the hotly contested CRM software market with its announced plan to acquire InQuira, a high-end knowledge management software company and long-time partner.

While industry analysts see the proposed acquisition of the San Francisco-based company, based in San Bruno, Calif.,  as good news for Oracle customers, they said it also raises questions for CRM customers of SAP, IBM and Genesys, all of whom also have partnerships with InQuira.

“I don’t know what will happen, but Oracle and InQuira won’t walk away from those customers,” said Kate Leggett, a senior analyst with Forrester Research Inc. in Boston.

Oracle did not comment about the planned purchase beyond a prepared statement that noted the deal would give them “a complete knowledge management suite integrated with self-service support, online customer forums and agent-assisted CRM.”

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Genesys said the company’s “OEM agreement with InQuira will continue.”

SAP declined to comment on the InQuira news.

The acquisition would give Oracle knowledge management software that is intended to make customer service operations more efficient. The InQuira software helps companies extend Web self-service offerings and gives agents access to a multichannel knowledge database. With access to the full scope of customer data and company information, agents can function more as experts and less as phone operators.

“The goal would be to have a single system, regardless of media or channel, with everyone using a common database,” said Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics LLC in Amherst, N.H.

Oracle first partnered with InQuira in 2008 and currently offers some integration with InQuira tools. In September 2010, for example, InQuira announced it had received “validated integration” with Oracle CRM On Demand Release 17.

Forrester’s Leggett said not all Oracle CRM customers will want the InQuira software, which she likened to the “Ferrari” of knowledge management software.

“Sometimes a VW bug will do just fine,” she added.




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