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SAP Pulls Hybris Into Its Stable

SAP Pulls Hybris Into Its Stable

SAP has been slow to move to the cloud, but lately it appears to be working aggressively to make up lost ground. "With more and more customer interactions moving to the digital domain, the ability to engage, nurture and fulfill that individual customer need in real-time requires a new world of dynamism not present in systems today," said SAP's Jamie Anderson, director of global solution marketing.

SAP acquired Switzerland-based enterprise resource planning company Hybris last week in order to add cloud-based, next-generation e-commerce capabilities to its offerings.

Hybris has developed an omnichannel commerce platform that allows businesses to incorporate Web, mobile, call center and store actions in their efforts to track and respond to customer activity. The solution helps businesses create a single view of customers as they transact via multiple channels.

SAP will integrate Hybris' software and services into a number of its products, including its SAP HANA analytics platform and its SAP Jam social platform. Integration into HANA will allow for real-time data on customer activity.

Acquisition Momentum

As SAP continues to build out its offering, each acquisition helps tit get closer to complete coverage.

"I think it's a logical extension. SAP has been systematically building out its enterprise resource planning portfolio and its CRM portfolio over the last year or two," Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told CRM Buyer. "Hybris fills some of the holes or shallow points for SAP."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed; however industry scuttlebutt puts the dollar figure at close to US$1 billion, or possibly as much as $1.5 billion.

With the acquisition, SAP potentially gains a new group of customers.

"SAP noted there was not a great deal of overlap between Hybris customers and SAP's customers," said King. "SAP probably believes that it can upsell the Hybris customer base and ratchet up new customers on the way."

Up in the Cloud

SAP has both cloud and on-site services and plans to integrate Hybris into both offerings. The company is moving more in the cloud direction, however.

"They're doing some interesting things in the cloud," said King. "They've been a bit slower to move to the cloud than some players -- like NetSuite and Salesforce, which are by definition cloud companies."

Despite the attention cloud services are getting, enterprises are just getting into line to sign up for them.

"It's not surprising that a more traditional enterprise software vendor like SAP would be a bit slower to move into the cloud," said King. "Typically vendors develop solutions that they believe their primary customer is interested in. Going after cloud services has not been high on the list of enterprise."

Holding back from the cloud for SAP has helped the company work with its existing client base.

"I think they've been moving a little more slowly into the cloud, but I don't think that has hurt them appreciably, and they're certainly moving more aggressively now," said King.

Hybrid Offerering

For SAP, Hybris will beef up its existing offerings, including services SAP HANA and SAP Jam.

"SAP is investing in the future of commerce and the future of consumer/customer engagement," said Jamie Anderson, director of global solution marketing at SAP. "With the acquisition of Hybris and its true, market-leading omnichannel commerce capabilities, SAP is building on its real-time version for business, providing the ability for our customers to live in the moment with their customers."

Does Hybris fill any holes that SAP had in its offering?

"I think so," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told CRM Buyer.

"SAP is light in e-commerce and when you are talking about online selling the line between the actual sales transaction and CRM is nonexistent," he pointed out.

"SAP either had to cede much of this growing opportunity to others or buy into it aggressively," noted Enderle, "and apparently they are choosing the latter path.

The merger process will need to be watched closely, however, as this kind of a merger, across geographic and business lines, is very difficult to pull off successfully," Enderle cautioned.

"I think this is a very interesting deal," said Pund-IT's King. "SAP's been pretty effective in making investments of this sort, and I believe that the Hybris deal will be another of the company's successes."


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