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Salesforce Beefs Up AI Capabilities With Datorama Buy

Partners applaud the deal as they see CRM customers increasingly clamoring for more artificial intelligence to guide marketing campaigns.

Salesforce said Monday it had reached a deal to acquire Datorama, an Israeli-American startup offering an artificial intelligence service to marketers that will be integrated into the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The New York-headquartered startup has more than 3,000 customers using its technology to optimize marketing campaigns, automate reports and accelerate the decision-making process, including PepsiCo, Ticketmaster and Trivago.

"Today’s announcement strengthens Salesforce’s ability to empower brands worldwide to deliver smarter, more personalized and connected customer experiences," Bob Stutz, Salesforce's Chief Analytics Officer and CEO of Marketing Cloud, said in a blog.

[Related: Months After Closing CloudCraze Deal, Salesforce Introduces B2B Commerce]

Financial details of the transaction weren't disclosed, but could be valued at over $800 million, according to one report that cited two people familiar with the deal.

Datorama technology will complement the artificial intelligence capabilities of Salesforce's Einstein platform, and an integration forged last year with Google Analytics 360, Stutz said.

The deal will further build up the CRM leader's ability to deliver data integration, analytics and intelligent insights to Marketing Cloud that spans channels and data sources, he added.

Ran Sarig, Datorama's CEO, said landing under the Salesforce umbrella will expand his company's core mission of helping marketers integrate data sources to deliver greater insights into their campaigns and customer outreach efforts.

"We will move with greater speed and support," he said in a blog.

Eric Casazza, CEO of FMT Consultants, said the Salesforce integrator based in Carlsbad, Calif. looks forward to seeing how Salesforce incorporates its latest acquisition.

"From a partner perspective, the more investment we see into creating useful information from marketing data, the better," Casazza told CRN.

Business Intelligence solutions bridge the gap between the troves of data modern businesses collect through their marketing efforts, and the actionable customer information that helps them engage and scale, Casazza said.

FMT, a Microsoft and Oracle NetSuite partner that plunged into the Salesforce channel earlier this year with the acquisition of Red Sky Solutions, is fielding growing interest from clients in leveraging Salesforce Einstein for AI-generated marketing insights.

"Along with Salesforce Lightning, Einstein is a valuable piece of a modern CRM solution, and everyone is looking for how to take better advantage of marketing data," Casazza told CRN. "Rather than pull marketing reports all day long, let’s let the system talk to us. BI that includes customer information from cross-system marketing technologies and empowered through AI is a requirement moving forward."

Datorama technology is used by enterprises, digital agencies and publishers to automatically connect marketing tools and centralize reporting around investments, performance, and outcomes.

The platform allows marketers to visualize, analyze and take action in real-time to optimize their efforts.

Jill Harrison, who runs the Innovation Programs unit at Silverline, a Salesforce integrator based in New York, said her firm's marketing automation and data engineering teams are encouraged by news of the Datorama deal.

"Following on acquisitions like Demandware, CloudCraze and KRUX, Salesforce is sending a clear market signal that data is the new currency by which brands and agencies can ensure an optimized customer experience and drive the bottom line," Harrison told CRN.

Salesforce is proving its ongoing commitment to "marketing tech made easy for the business user" by consistently investing in capabilities that deliver real-time audience segmentation and marketing BI solutions, she said.

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