Enterprise software: SAP's SAPPHIRE NOW opens tomorrow in Orlando; Rising Vertex competitor Avalara ups IPO target

Tom Paine

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SAP's annual SAPPHIRE NOW user conference kicks off in Orlando tomorrow and runs through Thursday. CEO Bill McDermott starts Tuesday morning with his keynote, and co-founder & Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hasso Plattner, SAP's tech guru, follows with his on Wednesday morning. Although SAPPHIRE NOW is less focused on celebrities and social causes than Salesforce's Dreamforce, there are some, and Jon Bon Jovi opens Thursday morning. Justin Timberlake will headline the concert on Thursday night.

Is there a unifying theme? SAP does not appear to have as much of a crisis on its hands as last year with the indirect access issue, since somewhat resolved or calmed. Integration (of data, apps) may be one, though that's a sometimes amorphous topic. The SAP HANA platform will be on center stage. Expect emphasis on McDermott's promise to shake up the CRM market (vs. Salesforce primarily), Machine Learning and AI, Open Source, and vertical market solutions, according to Diginomica .

Jennifer Morgan, SAP's highest ranking exec in Newtown Square (Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, President, Americas and Asia Pacific Japan, Global Customer Operations) also speaks on Thursday morning.

More than I thought:

Vertex' (tax software, King of Prussia) Seattle-based competitor Avalara aims to raise up to $181M in IPO at $19 to $21 per share, an updated filing shows. Speculation is that a successful IPO would result in a valuation of over $1 billion.
Founded in 2004, Avalara has been growing rapidly but is still racking up large losses .

This is enterprise-class tax software for large businesses. Vertex is a close partner to SAP; Avatar just hired an Oracle exec as its CTO. It leads one to wonder how much Vertex, founded in 1978, would be worth if it went public.

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