Salesforce Acquires EntropySoft

  • 6-Feb-2013

Salesforce.com has acquired EntropySoft, a French content integration and migration vendor. Some observers have speculated this is a way for Salesforce to enter the Enterprise Content Management marketplace.

I think a closer look could reveal a different rationale.

It's About the Connectors

EntropySoft has developed a number of connectors (see the screen-shot below, courtesy of Google cache) for all kinds of systems including, ECM, Document Management, and Search tools. Many of these connectors were read-write, meaning they could read from a repository as well as write to it.

EntropySoft website screenshot-cached

Such connectors obviously have many uses, such as migrating content from one system to another, accessing multiple document management systems simultaneously from a single interface, checking a file out from one system and checking it into another, federated search across multiple systems, and so forth. As a result, many other vendors found the EntropySoft connectors useful to bundle with their offerings (more about the impact on those other vendors in a minute).

Why Salesforce?

For Salesforce, the move has obvious potential benefits. EntropySoft connectors (or perhaps more pointedly, new connectors the EntropySoft team can build) could link various Salesforce CRM and Social Media services to enterprise back-end repositories, for things like archiving and -- in the future -- potentially even hybrid storage.

But that's in theory. In practice, Salesforce applications have not played well with on-premise enterprise systems.  The issues tend to revolve less around technology than Salesforce culture, so EntropySoft can't be considered a game-changer here.

The Customer Impact

It is also not clear yet if EntropySoft tools will remain supported for enterprise customers that deployed them for content migration or vendors that OEM'ed connectors. Past experience -- such as when Oracle acqured similar filters via Stellent, something Marc Benioff might recall -- suggests that when components like these go from neutral third-party to competitive platform vendor, it can be disruptive for the other vendors.  And that means disruption for you the customer.

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