Salesforce Acquisition of ClickSoftware: A Sensible Acquisition

Salesforce on Wednesday said it has agreed to buy privately held field service company ClickSoftware in a deal valued at $1.35 billion in cash and stock.

The deal could help Salesforce compete with Microsoft, the most highly valued public company. Microsoft acquired field service software company FieldOne in 2015.

The deal comes two months after Salesforce announced its biggest deal ever, buying data visualization software company Tableau for more than $15 billion. Salesforce already offers tools for dealing with field service, which involves keeping track of employees heading out to perform maintenance for customers. Read the full story on CNBC.

Analyst Take: I’ve been openly critical of Salesforce’s lack of organic innovation and their straying from their core “Cloudness” over the past year, however, I think this acquisition fits the Salesforce model. With Tableau, it felt to me like they were doing the round peg, square hole thing. ClickSoftware fits right into the Salesforce Service cloud and provides the company both customer growth and capability growth for their service cloud. 

It’s not entirely clear to me what the “Differentiation” within ClickSoftware that Salesforce sees as it pertains to enhancing the Service Cloud. Begging the question as to whether it is more for revenue growth or true service enhancements, but either way Salesforce stands to benefit and make their field service offerings more competitive. 

I believe this acquisition fits squarely in the wheelhouse of what Salesforce is trying to do. ClickSoftware was built as a SaaS application and they have both important and a significant volume of customers using the platform. These customers can quickly be brought over to Salesforce to almost immediately upon close add to the bottom line for Service Cloud. 

With all of this said, my more skeptical nature about Salesforce is still planting questions in my mind about why the company keeps having to “Buy” instead of “Build” to grow. Why, with such a massive customer database are they not able to convince these customers to move to their existing platforms? With so many acquisitions, the company will need to be careful not to wind up with a convoluted, difficult to use software platform ripe for disruption from a company that looks a lot like Salesforce did when it first came to market. 

Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

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Daniel Newman