The buyout bandwagon
Salesforce’s (CRM) recent acquisition of Sequence will boost its Lightning Design System, which enables customers to develop customized applications. In 2016, IBM (IBM) acquired five design companies to strengthen its digital agency, IBM iX (Interactive Experience): Ecx.io, Aperto, Resource/Ammirati, BlueWolf Group, and Expert Personal Shopper. Over the years, IBM has aggressively resorted to acquisitions to not only record growth but also to strengthen its stance in rapidly growing areas such as the cloud, AI (artificial intelligence), and machine learning.
Salesforce and IBM are not the only companies interested in the digital space. In late 2016, Cognizant (CTSH) announced the acquisition of Mirabeau, an Amsterdam-based digital marketing and customer experience agency.
In addition to enhancing their presence in digital space, these strategic acquisitions have enabled Cognizant and IBM to explore Europe (EFA). A February 2016 Fortune report, citing IBM iX European leader Matthew Candy, stated that “Eastern Europe is a rapidly growing market for digital marketing and customer experience software.”
Enhanced customer interaction
According to SuperOffice, a 2005 study by Bain & Company determined that 80% of companies think they deliver a better customer experience than peers, while only 8% of customers shared their optimism. Although the study is dated, the aforementioned strategic acquisitions by Salesforce, IBM, and Cognizant highlight the ongoing trend of software companies finding ways to increase and enhance their interaction with customers.
IBM iX global leader Paul Papas shares this sentiment. On IBM’s acquisition, he stated that “the customer experience has become a new priority in modern business strategy.”
After starting primarily as a CRM (customer relationship management) software vendor, Salesforce has expanded into related areas such as marketing, user productivity, and e-commerce over the years. These initiatives, which have been made possible through a series of strategic acquisitions such as those of Quip, ExactTarget, and Demandware, have not only enhanced Salesforce’s offerings but rattled its peers.