Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Salesforce.com Acquisition of Koral Puts the Focus on Unstructured Business Information

ZDNet reports on Salesforce.com's recent acquisition of Koral, a small content management company that focuses on bringing together unstructured content from enterprises into Salesforce.com's ASP-based sales management platform. Koral makes it easy for people to leverage SF.com's content synchronization capabilities to simplify the storage, sharing, searching and synchronization of office documents and emails - the very type of content that enterprise search engines and business information vendors are coveting increasingly for their own product plans. While SF.com enjoys support from many business information providers integrating subscription database content via its AppExchange online services store unstructured content offers another level of content value generation that trumps both I.T.-oriented office automation and search engine plays and publishers trying to define their own frameworks to organize user content as a business resource.

Business Information 3.0 is about creating value out of whatever content is available wherever it is made available - and creating more value in moments of fresh content discovered in time to make a difference to the top line of today's enterprises. Like Google Salesforce.com is approaching the content business from the perspective of a software-as-a-service vendor that make every business information resource accessible in a framework that makes an immediate and tangible difference to people's lives. Many publishers don't quite grasp the concept that any content that helps to move business processes forward is business information worthy of their attention - leaving huge opportunities for content technology vendors to define the framework in which they develop their services.

Today we see many vendors such as Hoover's, OneSource and Factiva integrating their business information into SF.com via AppExchange. With the Koral acquisition SF.com is laying down the gauntlet that challenges both publishers and I.T. companies to provide more combined content value than their highly cost-effective sales automation services. Increasingly this means mining content value from non-traditional sources such as corporate Web sites and delivering it as real-time updates to business information users. In the battle for business information desktops sometimes perhaps it pays to leave the desktop behind altogether...
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