RightNow Technologies is stumping up $6m (£3.6m) in cash to purchase social networking platform provider HiveLive, in a bid to further build out its customer relationship management (CRM) software-as-a-service offering and take on rival Salesforce.com.
The HiveLive offering will be made available immediately to RightNow customers, enabling them to introduce pre-built, but configurable, online customer community templates.
RightNow founder and chief executive Greg Gianforte said that the purchase would "combine our CRM solution with HiveLive's innovative social platform for customer support, engagement and loyalty, and ideation communities to help organisations maximise every opportunity to deliver great customer experiences" .
The community templates support forums, blogs, Q&A dialogues and media sharing, and the resultant customer-generated content will be aggregated into RightNow's knowledge base for analysis purposes.
The goal, the company said, is to enable customers to integrate these conversations into internal business processes, tap them for design ideas, and "leverage them to create passionate brand advocates".
Salesforce.com has likewise been investing in social networking-based functionality over the past 18 months or so, and today unveiled a crowd sourcing-based Answers product to enable users to ask questions either online or via Facebook.
The firm also plans to release a knowledge-as-a-service offering early next year, allowing users to take customer and support data and incorporate it into the company's knowledge base.
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