After passing on Jive & ExactTarget, SAP ramps up social media / ecommerce strategy by acquiring Hybris

Tom Paine

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Two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that SAP had held talks to acquire enterprise collaboration network Jive, which has a market value in excess of $1 billion, but ended the talks after deciding that Jive's offering overlapped too much with SAP's own, according to Bloomberg's sources.

Then yesterday, Salesforce announced it was acquiring ExactTarget, which has a core strength in software for managing enterprise email marketing programs, for $2.5 billion. SAP was an investor in ExactTarget through SAP Ventures, and once again Bloomberg cited sources saying that SAP had considered acquiring ExactTarget but decided not to proceed.

Whether the sources talking to Bloomberg are coming from within the SAP camp is not clear. But the recent moves, and SAP's inaction, may have left some wondering what SAP's game plan was for increasing its social media toolbox.

Part of that answer came today, as SAP announced it was acquiring Swiss-based Hybris (not to be confused with Hubris), which had been said to have been on SAP's radar for a while. FT cited sources putting the value of the transaction in the $1 billion range. Hybris had estimated revenue for 2012 of more than $100 million. Its CEO was previously a top Salesforce executive in Europe.

Hybris sells an “omni-channel commerce platform that incorporates Web, mobile, call center and store solutions," which "helps businesses of all sizes on every continent sell more goods, services and digital content through every touch point, channel and device," SAP said in its statement announcing the deal. "Hybris' solutions provide a single view of customers, products and orders across multiple demand and delivery channels, made possible by state-of-the-art master data management and unified commerce processes for all channels."

While SAP plans to operate Hybris as an independent company, it does plan to integrate it with its HANA in-memory computing technology and Jam social network.

Hybris will serve as “a defining step in SAP’s evolution to a business-to-business-to consumer company,” co-CEO Bill McDermott said during a conference call today, adding that the acquisition is part of SAP's plans to “take over” the CRM market. MCDermott also took a shot at Salesforce's ExactTarget buy (which SAP had reportedly considered), saying SAP's ecommerce strategy was “not about sending out email blasts."

Along the ecommerce/social media spectrum, Hybris may be more directly comparable to Massachusetts-based ATG, which was acquired by Oracle in 2010, and IBM's WebSphere (and to a lesser extent eBay's King of Prussia-based GSI Commerce unit).

Hybris, which has many huge global brands as clients. has 14 office locations in North America, according to its website. Philadelphia is not among them, though I do see demand for Hybris specialists on the websites of some of the big consulting firms in the area.


Daily Links 6/5/2013: DirecTV acquires Langhorne's LifeShield; SAP to Acquire hybris

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SAP HANA sales fly but there's more to the in-memory story (ZDNet)

SAP to Acquire hybris to Deliver Next-Generation Customer Experience (SAP News Release)

Here's Why Salesforce Spent A Whopping $2.5 Billion On ExactTarget (SAI Enterprise)

Boston-based mobile solutions provider Mobiquity Secures $12M in Series B Financing, led by NewSpring Growth (Marketwire)

DirecTV buys firm backed by Michael Hagan (Philadelphia Business Journal)
LifeShield Home Security was ranked #16 on the just released Philly Tech News Young Companies to Watch. However, information on its success in penetrating the market was sparse. My sense was its IP-based solution was targeted more at apartment renters than homeowners. One report says Lifeshield has 105 employees.

DirecTV Buys LifeShield: Reports (Multichannel News)

Comcast Tees Up Multi-Room DVR for X1 (Multichannel News)

QVC CEO aims to win in the new retail game (MarketWatch)