First Take: Oracle Acquires Inquira

This morning Oracle announced it entered into an agreement to acquire Inquira, a Knowledge Management vendor.  Terms of the deal were not specified, neither was price.  Of course, obligatory quotes from all sides were included in the press release on how this is good for everyone.

Is it?

I have written a lengthy research note evaluating the deal, repercussions for end-users and vendors, and looking at what happens next in the market.  It has been distributed to my clients via separate email, but I am going to include three key points I made in it:

  • It was about time, no one is surprised by this move as it was widely expected.
  • As Nitin said, it closes an era in KM – but I am far more excited about the opportunities it opens up for new vendors to create new knowledge paradigms.
  • Inquira’s current OEM partners are the ones most affected by this deal, but they have been preparing for this day to come and they all have alternative plans.
I would strongly suggest that anyone interested in this deal spends more time analyzing the new paradigms of knowledge and how to manage them, not as much the KM world.
What do you think?

7 Replies to “First Take: Oracle Acquires Inquira”

  1. Can’t agree with you more – a long overdule acquisition. Knowledge infused CRM is much more powerful than standalone knowledge. And CRM data used to contextualize and personalize knowledge makes it much more useful to those who use it. And with this model, it is also easy to extend into the realms of social knowledge


    1. Kate,

      Thanks for the read and comment, I think we think alike: social knowledge (or tribal knowledge, or community-generated knowledge) is the next iteration. Problem is that current models don’t address that need yet.

      Looking to see what comes up in the near term.


  2. Agree on the beginning of a new era part. Kate’s right that the combination is more powerful than standalone CRM. I’d also add that the next era of KM will largely focus on interpretation (context?) of the flows of knowledge, rather than trying to capture and store knowledge.


    1. Nitin,

      Sure was hoping you’d agree, since I was quoting you. I am totally behind the idea of knowledge-being-used, not knowledge-being-stored. As I was telling Kate, the next generation is not yet fully defined — and you are now bringing more elements that I think should be there. Add semantics, necessary IMO going forward, and we have a very interesting mess to sort out in the next few years to leverage knowledge – don’t you think?

      Thanks for the read and comment!


  3. The purchase is an interesting move. Fundamentally it is yet another search based paradigm being gobbled up and will likely provide benefits to Oracle for their recent eCommerce acquisitions. I believe KM 1.0 is now behind us. KM is one aspect, but customer self-service/self-reliance is a complete different issue that is not well-served by traditional KM based approaches as you suggest (even smart search that Inquira provides). Their cost structures and heavy lifting requiring extensive professional services doesn’t scale well in self-service and provides even less benefits in mobile and social.

    I believe this will in the end help “un-muddy” the waters. Most of the customer self-service challenges are about everyone trying to solve a long tail problem. That’s what happens when you apply older approaches to the problem. Today’s customers (internal or external consumers) are looking for low effort and high efficiency (so a customer self-selecting the correct content from a list of 100’s or 1000’s fails at this). When 80-95% of the answers individuals seek are not part of the long tail it changes how you attack the problem (not everyone is an Amazon in terms of selection).

    Frankly its likely why you don’t see many competitive situations where products like Inquira are in truly customer facing self-service implementations.



  4. Hi Estoban,
    The big CRM vendors can perhaps take some points from the KM providers, at least from the perspective of customer self service. As social layers are added to the mix, they will need more than ever to learn from the KM /KCS mindset. My suggestions for Oracle? Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Take the best of what the good KM vendors provide from a customer use perspective, interactivity with forums, agents, and others, and use it to help envision what the hybrid might look like. With the use of pure sentiment analysis, many folks are actually not gaining the marketing insights they wanted, a result all those neutral sentiment results, I suspect. I would not attempt to build a sentiment data behemoth, but instead rely on the tried and true mantra, what information actually answers questions, and solves problems? Now, using this new, shiny hybrid beast as a component of a marketing automation mother ship, that is a completely different ball game.


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