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More than 200 companies have united to take a stand against the largest and fastest-growing enterprise application software category — Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Led by Segment, a Customer Data Platform (CDP) provider, the companies signed a "declaration" published in the Wall Street Journal, calling themselves "Representatives of the Platform of Independents." 

"Building businesses around CRM is no longer enough," Segment CEO and co-founder Peter Reinhardt wrote in the declaration. CRM, he said, is "not equipped for today's digital age," adding companies are often "locked in to the tools and capabilities (or lack thereof) which their CRM suites provide." Reinhardt noted CRM vendors have spent more than $30 billion acquiring new applications and technology to "try to fix these problems." "But," he added, "these acquisitions won't change much."

The platform of independents, Reinhardt said, is an alliance of independent software companies who believe a business should never be locked into a suite, its data never locked in silos nor be forced into a one-size-fits-all technology approach. 

The platform of independents is composed of Segment, Airship (customer engagement), Amplitude (product analytics), Drift (conversational marketing), Iterable (customer engagement), Mixpanel (product, user behavioral analytics), Outreach (sales engagement), Pendo (product experience), Radar (location data infrastructure) and Tray.io (general automation), as well as more than 190 co-signatory companies. See the full list of companies here. CDPs are often compared against CRMs, but the platform of independents outside of Segment does not include any of the notable CDP players that have emerged in the growing space

The declaration does not cite CRM vendors. It's clear, however, these "independents" have formed to likely fight Salesforce, the largest CRM provider. After all, it just so happens Salesforce, the largest CRM provider, has had four acquisitions since 2018 totaling near $24 billion (CloudCraze, MuleSoft, Tableau and ClickSoftware). It's made a handful of others, too, so the $30 billion acquisition charge made my Reinhardt is more than likely a salvo at Marc Benioff's company. Or, throw in SAP's $8 billion acquisition of Qualtrics, and that's another way to arrive at the $30 billion.

Salesforce has 18.3% of the CRM market share, according to a report in June by Gartner. SAP (8.3%), Oracle (6.0%), Adobe (4.8%) and Microsoft (2.7%) compose about 40% of the market. Worldwide spending on CRM software grew 15.6% to reach $48.2 billion in 2018, according to Gartner, as CRM remains both the largest and the fastest growing enterprise application software category.

CMSWire reached out to Salesforce and fellow CRM provider SugarCRM for thoughts on the declaration against CRM but did not receive an immediate response.

In other customer experience software news ...

Adobe AEM Goes Cloud Native

Adobe has unveiled Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service. Adobe Experience Manager is a web content management system (called AEM Sites) that also includes digital asset management (called AEM Assets).

Adobe officials in a press release touted the content management Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) system's strengths to deploy personalized content. Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service integrates content management (CMS), digital asset management (DAM), digital signage management and customer communication (CCM) applications. 

Adobe offering cloud services is nothing new. At its 2017 Adobe Summit, the San Jose, Calif.-based provider reshuffled its multi-pillar enterprise cloud technologies into the newly-named Adobe Experience Cloud. That included the Adobe Experience Manager. John Mellor, vice president of strategy for business development and marketing, said then the Experience Cloud a “very unique, high-scale, high-throughput system purpose-built for enterprises to deliver experiences.”

What’s Different About This Adobe Cloud?

So what's new now? Haresh Kumar, director of product marketing for AEM Sites, told CMSWire in an interview this week Adobe has offered cloud services in the past but in the context of managed services. Adobe, he said, would manage the infrastructure, eliminating the need for marketers to have to determine infrastructure needs. “What we are now doing essentially is an evolution of this cloud where everything needs to be cloud native,” Kumar said. Practitioners can now use the cloud-native service so that the underlying technologies can easily be deployed and microservices and containers can be added together, he added. Features and functionality remain the same, but now are offered with an underlying infrastructure that is cloud native. 

Cloud-native applications are specifically designed for cloud environments. Cloud-hosted applications, on the other hand, get deployed on dedicated servers and are managed by a service provider "under a cloud hood," according to a blog from Gayathri "G3" Krishnamurthy. “A lot of customers are completely happy with managed services,” Kumar said. “But some of the development cycles have changed, or development methodologies might have changed or evolved. What (practitioners) really want is to scale their developer environment in such a way that is containerized. Those are the architectural requirements. And in those scenarios, cloud service is better suited because it is a containerized world for them. It fits into their overall architecture.”

Adobe also this week at NRF 2020 in New York City announced a series of customer experience management software updates, including updates to Magento commerce, customer journey analytics, journey orchestration and Adobe Target personalization. 

SugarCRM Launches Renewals Console

SugarCRM has announced its Winter ‘20 release. It includes a new renewals console to support subscription-based models and features that boost lead funnels and first-response resolution rates inside customer support centers. The Renewals Console, a feature within Sugar Sell, avoids extensive customization or third-party integration for renewable services, according to SugarCRM officials. Other product updates include enhancements to email bot click detection, case tracking, business rules configurations and the management of tags on mobile devices.

Brightcove Launches New Demand Generation Application

Brightcove, a cloud video services provider, has announced Brightcove Campaign, an application designed to help marketers create video-driven marketing campaigns. Marketers can now generate, maintain, and optimize campaigns from one app.

Some features of Brightcove Campaign include:

  • Campaign advice and best practices
  • Advanced analytics reporting, including industry benchmark comparisons
  • Social sharing capabilities
  • Customized thumbnail codes for email distribution and video optimization
  • Marketing automation integration with Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot and Salesforce
  • Google Chrome extension for video analysis
  • Google and Adobe Analytics integration

ActionIQ Raises $32M

ActionIQ, a customer data platform, has raised a $32 million series C round led by March Capital Partners with participation from investors including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and FirstMark Capital. The company has now raised $75 million.

ActionIQ officials said they will use the money to expand sales, marketing and product R&D. According to company officials, ActionIQ has in the past 12 months processed over 30 petabytes of customer data and powered over 1 trillion interactions.

Tasso Argyros, founder and CEO of ActionIQ, said he expects that in the next 12 to 18 months, we’ll see significant consolidation in the space. “2020 is going to be an exciting year," he said in a press release.

6sense Raises $40 Million

6sense, an Account Based Orchestration Platform, has earned $40 million in Series C funding from Insight Partners. This brings 6sense’s total funding to more than $105 million. The company plans to use this round of equity to “unite revenue teams on a single platform that provides account insights and AI orchestration.” Insight has invested in more than 300 companies and participated in over 40 IPOs, including digital experience software provider Episerver. 6sense’s technology connects intent signals from customer channels, including anonymous web visits, third party research and false forms, according to company officials.

Elastic Path Acquires Moltin 

Elastic Path, a provider of headless commerce solutions, has announced it has acquired fellow commerce technology leader Moltin. Elastic Path provides a headless approach to digital commerce, including a microservices-based architecture. The addition of Moltin helps Elastic Path customers leverage microservices in a secure, enterprise-grade deployment across multi-tenant SaaS, single-tenant SaaS, private cloud, and on premise, according to company officials.

The new unified platform is available to customers immediately. All of Moltin’s global employees have joined Elastic Path, including engineering, customer support, sales, marketing and operations. Moltin’s US and UK offices in Boston and Newcastle will still be operational.