Expanding Into Data Services With Jigsaw Acquisition

The addition of San Mateo, Calif.-based Jigsaw to Salesforce will provide the company's customers with the ability to find, purchase and manage data that can be integrated with Salesforce's on-demand CRM applications.

Salesforce expects to complete the acquisition in its fiscal 2011 second quarter which ends July 31. In addition to paying $142 million in cash for Jigsaw, Salesforce will pay up to 10 percent more based on Jigsaw's earnings performance.

Jigsaw uses what Salesforce called a "Wikipedia-style, crowd-sourcing" data services model to deliver business contact data to subscribers. Individuals can join the Jigsaw community and access its database by providing their own contact data. By helping to maintain the database's quality, they earn points that can be used to access additional records.

"With Jigsaw, we'll make it as easy as Wikipedia to source data, as easy as iTunes to buy data and as easy as Facebook to stay updated as the data changes," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement.

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Jigsaw also offers contact data, along with its premium automated data cleansing services, for purchase. The company's cloud-based platform automates the acquisition, cleansing and management of business contact data. Developers and ISVs can build applications on Jigsaw that leverage that contact information.

The Jigsaw community already has 1.2 million members and the company has built and maintained a contact database of more than 21 million indivduals at nearly 4 million companies.

Salesforce said the acquisition would create new opportunities for it to expand partnerships with information service companies such as Dun & Bradstreet, Hoover's and LexisNexis. Jigsaw also will work with Salesforce's Chatter when that collaboration application becomes available later this year, Salesforce said.

Salesforce said it would keep Jigsaw open to competing CRM systems.

Editor's Note: Everything Channel, which owns the ChannelWeb site and publishes CRN magazine, is a customer of both and Jigsaw.