8 Salesforce Buys Boost Analytics, Machine Learning Portfolio - InformationWeek

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8/22/2016
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Jessica Davis
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8 Salesforce Buys Boost Analytics, Machine Learning Portfolio

SaaS-based enterprise application and CRM giant Salesforce has accelerated its acquisition pace recently, snapping up eight companies, large and small, over the past several months. Here's a look at some of the deals and what they reveal about Salesforce's strategy.
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(Image: Wolterk/iStockphoto)

(Image: Wolterk/iStockphoto)

Online CRM and enterprise applications provider Salesforce.com has been snapping up different companies, small and large, in a series of acquisitions over the past nine months. The deals have added a range of capabilities to the company's existing portfolio, including cloud-based word processing, quote-price-configure software, and e-commerce. But most of the acquisitions focus on analytics, machine learning, and deep learning.

CEO Marc Benioff has said that enterprise software and other systems that can analyze data and recommend the right course of action (that is, smarter and more predictive software) will shape the future of business software.

[See 10 Cool Machine Learning Startups To Watch.]

At a Forbes CIO event in March, Benioff said, "This will be the huge shift going forward, which is that everybody wants systems that are smarter. Everybody wants systems that are more predictive, everybody wants everything scored, everybody wants to understand what's the next best offer, next best opportunity, how to make things a little bit more efficient."

That's what many of these companies that Salesforce has acquired were founded and built to do.

The deal pace has accelerated in recent months -- seven companies in 2016 so far, two during this month alone.

Benioff has been very vocal about his goal for Salesforce to reach $10 billion in annual cloud revenue, and the company has gotten closer, posting over $6 billion during its last fiscal year and projecting over $8 billion for the current fiscal year.

Salesforce plans to announce its second-quarter revenue and earnings on Aug. 31. In its first-quarter earnings call, the company raised its full-year guidance from $8.16 billion to $8.20 billion.

Certainly these data, analytics, and machine learning deals are intended to help the company achieve that goal. Here is a selection of Salesforce's acquisitions over the past several months.

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

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