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Salesforce.com Acquires Dimdim...And takes on Cisco?
Salesforce.com announced yesterday that they have acquired Dimdim for $31 million. Who is Dimdim and why would those that follow enterprise communications care?
Until the acquisition, Dimdim described itself as an, "online meeting service provider," competing with offerings like Cisco WebEx and GoToMeeting. But that is not the way it was described by Salesforce.com (SFDC) in its press release. Instead, Dimdim was described as a company that "has created critical real-time communication technologies such as presence, messaging and screen sharing."
What is the difference? As described to me by Chuck Ganapathi, SVP for Chatter and Mobile, it is not SFDC's intention to compete in the web conferencing market. Instead, it is the presence and instant messaging capabilities of Dimdim that were important to SFDC. These will be added to the now asynchronous Chatter solution to take Chatter to a new level.
Who has set the bar that Chatter aspires to reach? Facebook. In both its press release and in Ganapathi's interview with me, SFDC compares Facebook's addition of IM and presence about 18 months ago to the plan for Chatter plus Dimdim. If Chatter could be seen as an enterprise version of Facebook, with the new Dimdim capabilities SFDC continues to follow the lead of consumer social media solutions.
While SFDC may not want to compete with Cisco's WebEx, Chatter plus Dimdim becomes a direct competitor to Cisco Quad. As I wrote in a blog last month, Chatter already has 60,000 users. Ganapathi reports that customers that who use Chatter log in more and stay logged in longer. They begin to live in the application. As a subscription-based service, that must be regularly renewed, Chatter helps build a company’s stickiness to Salesforce.com. Adding presence and IM will only add to the stickiness.
It becomes increasingly clear that Chatter also competes with various Communications Enabled Business Process (CEBP) approaches. Instead of bringing communications into enterprise applications with web services and APIs, a la Avaya ACE or Siemens Fusion, Salesforce.com is embedding the communications and collaboration directly into sales force and CRM applications. No professional service required.