Not content to rest on its laurels after its Dreamforce conference earlier this month, Salesforce has announced it has acquired Assistly, a customer service help desk that engages with users in real time over a range of channels, including social media, from one interface.

Extending Salesforce to Small Business

The purpose of the acquisition is to help extend Salesforce to small and medium business, the company said. 

Adding Assistly to the Service Cloud family will enable to extend its reach to millions of small companies. The U.S. alone has 5.8 million businesses with 99 or fewer employees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau."

Users will also be able to migrate to Service Cloud as they grow, Salesforce said.

While Salesforce's quarterly earnings were up 38%, that sort of growth isn't sustainable without creating new markets, and SMBs are a ripe target. Salesforce had also indicated at its quarterly earnings announcement that it would continue to acquire smaller companies.

Enter Assistly, which has made its career out of helping small businesses implement help desk systems. Already used by vendors such as Instagram, Klout, One Kings Lane, Spotify and Square, the advantage of the software is that any employee can be called upon to pitch in at the help desk, even paying for the system on a per-hour basis. In addition, support can be offered through a variety of channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Web chats, email and phone.

The Numbers said it acquired Assistly for approximately US$ 50 million in cash, net of cash acquired -- which means, it might have actually cost more, but Assistly had some amount of money in the bank, so that part is a wash. As part of the transaction, also assumed Assistly's unvested options and will issue restricted stock units to certain Assistly shareholders.

The acquisition is expected to have no material impact to's revenue in the third quarter and fiscal year ending January 31, 2012, or to its earnings per share in the third quarter, but it is expected to reduce EPS by about 2 cents, to approximately $1.28 to $1.30.