In November of 2014, Dropbox announced a surprising partnership with Microsoft to bring Office editing functionality to its iOS and Android mobile apps. Now, the companies have taken their cooperation a step further by integrating Microsoft Office Online into the Dropbox website.

When a big brand like Microsoft announces an acquisition, there is often a lot of speculation about what their final intentions are.  When Microsoft acquired Skype, there was a lot of talk about the Redmond company trying to compete in the telecommunications world and maybe indirectly take Windows mobile to the next level.

This time around, what does Microsoft have in mind when it acquired Parature?  Like any form of takeover in the technology world, it is all about gaining access to a particular knowledge bases, customer base and a bigger market share.  The name of the game is letting someone else do the leg work and improving time to market at a faster rate.  In the case of Parature, the company has been a partner of Microsoft for some time and an acquisition not a complete surprise.

Parature is a small company that competes with Giants like and Oracle in the SaaS (Software as a Service) customer service business.  It is probably easier and cheaper to assimilate Parature and gain access to its user base than to get closer to a behemoth like Salesforce.  Microsoft plan is to integrate Parature’s offerings into it’s current CRM Dynamic system. This will be much easier and faster given the size of Parature.  That said, paying about $100M is likely a bargain but that will depend on the ROI Microsoft expects to derive from the purchase.

Acquisitions are a great way to grow quickly.  That said, things can also go wrong.  eBay for example acquired Skype and had to let go after it discovered that it wasn’t a good fit for their core business.

Why is Parature a Good Fit for Microsoft?

Customer support and service is expensive and can be a deal breaker for businesses that do not have the means to provide such services to their customer base.  What Parature offers is a way to reduce the cost of customer support by automating as much as possible the process of getting appropriate information. Think about having an internal search engine like Google where you can search for relevant information about a given product you have purchased.  How much can a company save if customers can get what they want from your knowledge base without having to make a phone call or send an email to Customer Support?

What if a client of your company is not happy and decides to complain about your product on social media?  What if you could take that complaint and turn it into a customer support call and provide an answer to solve the problem in your knowledge base?

You can easily see the potential for better user experience and customer support from these features. The world is changing and access to fast, accessible solution is what most customers desire.  Being able to monitor and manager all these from a single system does not only save time but can also save money.

These are some of the features that Parature provides with it’s CRM.  That is why Microsoft initially partnered with the company before going for a full takeover.