Why it just might make sense that Salesforce.com is buying Salesforce.org

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Yesterday, Salesforce.com announced its intent to buy its own educational/non-profit arm, Salesforce.org for $300 million. On its face, this feels like a confusing turn of events, but industry experts say it’s really about aligning educational and non-profit verticals across the entire organization.

Salesforce has always made a lot of hay about being a responsible capitalist. It’s something it highlights at events and really extends with the 1-1-1 model that it created, which gives one percent of profit, time and resources (product) to education and non-profits. Its employees are given time off and are encouraged to work in the community. Salesforce.org has been the driver behind this, but something drove the company to bring Salesforce.org into the fold.

While it’s easy to be cynical about the possible motivations, it could be a simple business reason, says Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. As he pointed out, it didn’t make a lot of sense from a business perspective to be running two separate entities with separate executive teams, bookkeeping systems and sales teams. What’s more, he said there was some confusion over lack of alignment and messaging between the Salesforce.com education sales team and what was happening at Salesforce.org.