Salesforce.com (SFDC) dropped the potential sale to Microsoft (MSFT) for $55M last year…and now, MSFT just checkmated. Now what? What is going to happen to the well-loved LinkedIn Navigator integration with SFDC?
If you look at the landscape of what LinkedIn can do for business applications like SFDC and Dynamics, it is clear that this acquisition was a power play to bolster Dynamics as a contender in this space. Dynamics has struggled for some time trying to gain traction as the go-to tool versus SFDC. With LinkedIn, Dynamics gains a lot of attention…you cannot build a business without have a strong amount of potential buyers to market and sell to. Buyers will need to weigh what it means to now purchase and.or expand SFDC with the perceived risk not having integration with LinkedIn and.or LinkedIn Navigator. There is not and easy, cost-effective way, particularly for SMD and MidMarket businesses, to get the quality and amount of data for business use elsewhere nor by down loading directly from LinkedIn. (Do you hear that? That is the sound of list purchase vendors celebrating!)
As a heavy SFDC user, there are obvious reasons why Dynamics is overlooked consistently. SFDC has the Apple-esque model, using developers to build out applications. SFDC’s user community blows away Dynamics like an exploding volcano. DreamForce is THE event of the year for business applications users AND developers, and has been for some time- think 150K people attending and shutting down SF big if you have not been. Dynamics gets zero points for being closed off to outside developers. Dynamics is not user-friendly either in comparison.
So now what? Here are my predictions:
- SFDC will continue to talk about selling to Oracle, which is the latest rumors about SFDC selling given Oracle having just raised $10M. It’s a bad idea in my opinion, even thought SFDC is built on the Oracle platform. Historically, Oracle ruins business products for business users- take Eloqua and Siebel as prime examples. Oracle with small business and end users being able to use their tools do not all belong in the same sentence. Unless they have a major strategy and new team for SMB and MidMarket, the idea frightens me!
- SFDC will continue to solidify both data and eCommerce platform partnerships- Google, Amazon.com. Rumors have been swirling about SFDC being purchased by either of these as well.
- LinkedIn Navigator and LinkedIn integrations with SFDC will continue without much addition R&D, and eventually be phased out over the next 1-2 years, if not sooner. Why would you give a competitor access to your purchase for very long after you figure out how it has leveraged your asset? I already am hearing very loud, worried cries from SFDC users, and potentially purchasers for LinkedIn tools with SFDC reconsidering moving forward.
- We will see LinkedIn competitors start gaining major traction, winning significant investments… MSFT haters will work their very best to make sure that happens!
Let’s see if my crystal ball is accurate! Until then, I am downloading my contacts from LinkedIn, thank you very much!