The most critical missing piece of Salesforce.com’s emerging cloud service last year was filled with the acquisition of Jigsaw, a vast repository of crowdsourced data on companies and their employees. Keeping Microsoft’s hands off of Jigsaw prevented it from possibly owning another majority stake in an emerging market – in this case, CRM.
But among the most promoted pieces of Salesforce’s buildout strategy last August at its annual conference came not from the crowd at large, but from the research firm of Dun & Bradstreet. It promised to help Salesforce build Data.com into a service that fills all the little gaps that crowdsourcing leaves behind. Now, D&B is building out in a new direction, with a Web services API called D&B Direct.