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Salesforce buys mobile messaging app HeyWire

Salesforce plans to integrate HeyWire's technology into Service Cloud, opening up another way for companies and customers to communicate.

With a focus on customer service and communication, Salesforce made its eighth acquisition this year, buying Boston-based HeyWire Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

HeyWire, a mobile messaging app built on the Salesforce platform that allows companies to interact with their customers, will be integrated with Salesforce's Service Cloud.

"The channels that customer service agents use and the way customers want to interact with businesses has changed a lot," said Michael Fauscette, chief research officer at Chicago-based G2 Crowd Inc., a peer-to-peer business software review company. "When companies built out a customer service suite, they used a call center, but we don't really talk on the phone much anymore. Salesforce wanted to add another way for companies to interact with customers."

Today, businesses are adding other ways to interact with customers, moving from just call centers and mailed forms, to email and electronic forms, to social and now SMS messaging.

"Service Cloud is all about providing the tools and software necessary for great service and to engage the customer," said Raj Suchak, managing director at Chicago-based Huron Consulting Group, which focuses on enterprise performance management and analytics. "You think about that, and you think about, digitally, where the world is going, and social and mobile are the two biggest trends. It's a match made in heaven."

The integration of HeyWire's mobile messaging app with Salesforce is most likely what led to the purchase of that, rather than other SMS messaging companies, such as Twilio.

"Twilio is an amazing company and doing great work, but HeyWire is tightly aligned with Salesforce and is a nice fit," Suchak said. "HeyWire provides an all-encompassing solution; other companies out there provide that infrastructure for mobile messaging. By making it a core part of its product offering, Salesforce can better align it with the product roadmap."

By making [HeyWire] a core part of its product offering, Salesforce can better align it with the product roadmap.
Raj Suchakmanaging director, Huron Consulting

HeyWire CEO and co-founder Meredith Flynn-Ripley wrote in a blog post that HeyWire will bring its technology to the Service Cloud, with "fully integrated mobile messaging capabilities that enable companies to connect with their customers in entirely new ways."

It's unknown if the mobile messaging app will extend beyond Service Cloud, but it's a possibility that intrigues Fauscette.

"Perhaps there are other places in Salesforce that two-way texting could be interesting," Fauscette said. "Maybe it could be used somewhere in sales or in some interacting marketing. It adds an easy way for customers to interact and perhaps get some downstream value by using it somewhere else."

This is nothing new for Salesforce, which has commonly purchased companies and rolled in their technology, most recently with CPQ software company SteelBrick. By purchasing HeyWire, Salesforce can package it into its existing options, rather than have it be a third-party application.

"Salesforce knows they need to meet the end customers on their terms -- where and how they want to communicate," said Karl Becker, president of The Carruthers Group, an Arvada, Colo., marketing and sales programs consultancy. "By broadening and innovating wider and wider, Salesforce is expanding its communication reach to any aspect the customer wants to use. This vision and commitment of an ever-expanding, comprehensive tool makes Salesforce more and more valuable as a single solution in an aggressively competitive landscape."

Salesforce acquisition timeline

Click here for a PDF of the Salesforce Acquisition Spree timeline.

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