Attacks Corporate Knowledge Management Challenges

Posted on April 10th, by thinkstrategies in Apex, AppExchange, content management, knowledge management, SaaS, Comments Off on Attacks Corporate Knowledge Management Challenges today announced its latest acquisition and newest extension to its Apex platform and on-demand service capabilities aimed at applying Web 2.0 tools and best practices to the age-old issue of knowledge management in corporate environments.

This represents a bold move which will not only expand the population of end-users who can benefit from’s solutions, but will also raise some new questions for its partners who are trying to determine how to successfully dance with the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry’s 800 pound gorilla.

Today’s announcement unveiled Apex Content and Salesforce ContentExchange which are intended to help organizations better manage their documents and unstructured data within their existing Salesforce CRM applications. is promising that Apex Content will be offer a content management platform for unstructured data sources such as office documents, HTML, video/audio files and email. It will also enable developers to create new content management applications for a variety of horizontal and vertical market purposes. It will also have an AJAX user interface for easy customization, workspace management, library services, content classification schema, full text index, and workflow services. Salesforce ContentExchange will make it easier for users to share, tag, subscribe, rate, comment and recommend documents just as they do with popular consumer-oriented websites today.

Pricing and availability of Salesforce ContentExchange and Apex Content is scheduled to be announced later this calendar year.

These new capabilities are being built on technology developed by Koral Technologies, a start-up quietly acquired by in March 2007. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but you can bet the acquisition was a steal given the strategic implications of this move.

Anyone who simply looks at this announcement as another opportunistic marketing ploy aimed at heightening’s visibility in the market should take a good look at the quote included in the company’s press release from Marc Benioff,’s chairman and CEO:

“Salesforce Content represents a decisive step towards our vision of managing all information on demand…Salesforce Content will liberate customers from complex content management software like EMC Documentum and Microsoft SharePoint by extending the on-demand model and Web 2.0 innovation throughout the enterprise.”

This is a bold statement which will not only raise alarms among the major players Benioff has identified, but is also raising concerns among some of’s AppExchange partners who already offer on-demand document management solutions and are wondering what today’s moves mean to them.

With each new initiative that has unveiled since it rolled out its AppExchange partner platform in 2005, apprehension has quietly but steadily grown among its partners who worry that’s new offerings may be encroaching on their businesses rather than encouraging them.

In past cases, such as last month’s AppSpace offering which included portal capabilities, everyone rationalized that the threat was offset by the added attention’s moves gave its partners. The partners would also in the past questioned whether was making a significant enough investment to truly compete with its more focused partners.

Although probably didn’t pay a lot for Koral, its acquisition of a SaaS vendor to expand into an area where its established partners already reside is unprecedented. That is why two of its document management partners have already expressed concerns to me since this morning’s announcement.

No one can fault for making a smart acquisition and continuing to set an aggressive pace in its expansion efforts. But, while the company plays a corporate version of ‘catch me if you can’, it will also have to figure out how to continue to play ‘nice’ with its partners who are becoming increasingly apprehensive about its ambitions.

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