Salesforce buys Jigsaw database for $152m

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Salesforce buys Jigsaw database for $152m

Sales teams promised up-to-date business contacts.

Salesforce has announced plans to acquire Jigsaw, an online community that provides a database of business information.

Salesforce said that the US$142m ($152m) purchase will allow its customers to integrate business contact data with their customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

The Jigsaw database has been built using crowd-sourcing, a method deployed by Web 2.0 companies to build up knowledge by encouraging users to contribute. Wikipedia and Facebook's new Community Pages are examples of the technique.

Jigsaw claims that its community has more than 1.2 million members, who have generated a contact database of more than 21 million professionals at nearly four million companies.

Organisations and professionals, whether Salesforce customers or not, can become members of the Jigsaw community by sharing common contact data found on a business card, including name, job title, company, mailing address, business phone number and email address.

Members who help to maintain Jigsaw's data quality earn points that can be redeemed for data access.

Salesforce should be able to integrate its new purchase with ease into its CRM offerings because Jigsaw is also a cloud application.

The company said that customers will benefit from an up-to-date database of complete contact information for sales teams.

"The process of trying to acquire, complete and cleanse business contact data is far too taxing and inefficient to meet the modern needs of companies in today's competitive marketplace," said Salesforce in a statement.

"Historically, companies have spent vast amounts of time and resources to build a database of complete contact information for their sales organisation, only to see its quality quickly deteriorate."

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011, and is subject to the customary closing conditions.

"Salesforce is excited to bring the data services industry into the era of Cloud 2," said Marc Benioff, Salesforce chairman and chief executive.

"With Jigsaw, we will make it as easy as Wikipedia to source data, as easy as iTunes to buy data and as easy as Facebook to stay updated as the data changes."

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