RightNow acquires Salesnet in SaaS CRM space

Salesnet will give RightNow domain expertise for complex sales environments

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RightNow Technologies a SaaS (software as a service) provider of CRM software announced on Monday its intention to acquire privately held Salesnet, also a CRM company using the SaaS delivery model, for $9 million in cash.

RightNow CEO Greg Gianforte said the acquisition accelerates it product road map, especially into sales force automation, by more than a year.

Salesnet also gives RightNow, a company whose strength is on the service side of CRM, domain expertise in complex selling environments and workflows.

Finally, it will add a significant number of customers, according to Gianforte.

"It gives us several hundred customers with deployments up to 2,500 seats," Gianforte said.

Josh Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting said an unspoken reason for the acquisition may be RightNow's desire to bulk up its offering quickly in order allay customer concerns about its and other independent third party CRM vendors' ability to survive against larger competitors.

"RightNow is sitting in a space where customers are considering them against Oracle and SAP, who offer CRM within a larger suite of functionality," Greenbaum said.

RightNow intends to offer more of that functionality through the acquisition of Salesnet. The integration road map will be carried out in three phases, Gianforte said.

This summer there will be a similar user interface so that Salesnet customers can view customer support in a RightNow system and RightNow customers can view sales opportunities in Salesnet.

In the second phase, expected this fall, existing Salesnet customers who don't need more advanced workflow management can upgrade to RightNow's Castle release, according to Gianforte.

Finally, in 2007 all Salesnet capabilities will be merged together with RightNow capabilities in one platform.