Salesforce.com Acquires InStranet Customer Service Knowledge Base

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Salesforce.com paid $31.5 million to buy out InStranet, which markets a knowledge base used by customer service call centers and customer self-service Web portals. InStranet was an AppExchange partner, which had provided its knowledge base technology as part of a number of Salesforce.com on-demand CRM deployments.

Salesforce.com, a 9-year-old company that has grown mostly from internal expansion, disclosed on Aug. 20 that it has acquired AppExchange partner InStranet, the producer of customer service knowledge base technology, for $31.5 million.

InStranet’s knowledge base technology is used by business-to-consumer or business-to-business customer service call centers to give service agents online reference and policy databases to answer customers’ questions. It can also be deployed as a searchable Web-based self-service portal to help customers answer their own questions.

InStranet was founded in 1999, the same year as Salesforce.com, by CEO Alex Davon and Executive Vice President Jean-Noel Grandval, who were both former executives at Business Objects.

Salesforce.com acquired InStranet, which has been an AppExchange partner since 2005, "because we believe that they have the best knowledge base technology for customer service and support in the market," said Brett Queener, Salesforce.com’s senior vice president of applications.

John Pallatto John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Enterprise Applications Center editor. His near 30 years of experience as a professional journalist began as a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.