Full disclosure: I head international sales for Visible Technologies from their London office.

Stephen Waddington (@wadds) said in a tweet this morning that he had gone back and re-read my Social CRM post from January on the news that Salesforce.com has bought Visible competitor, Radian6.

Smart man is Stephen, because he linked my discussion about what we would see in enterprise social media in 2011 with the acquisition announcement.

Visible’s CEO Kelly Pennock in his post Radian6 Acquisition – An Endorsement of Social Media Business Value Today sees the Salesforce.com move as great for the industry as a whole (read his thoughts below) and I can only agree.

The Radian6 acquisition by Salesforce.com is an extremely exciting event for everyone in this space.  Congratulations to both parties.  Salesforce did the analysis and made the bet that the ability to understand and engage with social media will be an integral component of customer relationship management going forward.

If early reports on Radian6’s revenue are correct, Salesforce apparently placed a great premium on these capabilities.

The acquisition is exciting, but not a great surprise.  For those of us who believe that social media analysis and insight will soon play an important role in the business processes of every sizable company, the deal is confirmatory more than surprising.

The integration of social media monitoring with established efforts in brand and competitor tracking, PR, market research, marketing measurement, lead generation, customer support and much more is already under way.

More and more companies are recognizing this as a best practice. The market is growing quickly year over year and at a quickening pace.  In other words, social media monitoring, and all that it implies, is already going mainstream and this just an illustration of how mainstream.

This acquisition is also exciting because it raises the stakes for the existing social media monitoring vendors.  The most viable vendors in this space will need to deliver scale, performance, quality and reliability—all the things that big companies and technology giants of the Salesforce ilk will require of partners.

Going mainstream carries the responsibility of delivering real value, consistently, much like existing CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and other enterprise mainstays.

The deal may very well hasten the coming shakeup, since many vendors in this space won’t be able to deliver against those demands, but in the end, the impact will be healthy.

The size of this deal, the multiple, and the name of the acquirer should have a very positive impact on social media monitoring and the broader social media business stack.  In a market that is already on the move, the acquisition will increase awareness even further and faster.

My view: expect to see more consolidation and smart partnering in this space in the next 2 quarters.  It is a really exciting time to be in the enterprise social media space as large companies are committing real resources and budget in this area.

Social intelligence is the business discipline to watch going forward.