SAP Catches Buyout Fever With Hybris

With hybris, SAP is zeroing in on a full spectrum of eCommerce activities


A day after’s $2.5-billion deal to buy social CRM vendor ExactTarget, SAP announced its plan to acquire hybris, a Zug, Switzerland-based ISV specializing in omnichannel eCommerce applications.

Since 1997 hybris has been selling omni-channel B2B and B2C eCommerce apps to more than 500 customers through sales offices in 15 countries. hybris’ customer references include General Electric, Thomson Reuters, 3M, Toys R Us, P&G, Levi’s and Nikon.

Following a recent $30 million investment by Meritech and Greylock, hybris has been on a tear expanding globally. Its LinkedIn profile lists 622 hybris employees. In 2011 Hybris bought iCongo for its order management applications, enabling it to push deeper into North American market.

With hybris, SAP is zeroing in on a full spectrum of eCommerce activities from web selling to seamless order management, as well as complete visibility into every aspect of customer interaction, margin optimization as well as back-end integration.

Its rivals have also been stepping up their move to deliver similar solutions designed to transform the task of selling goods and services into not just a delightful experience for the buyers, but also an endeavor that can be easily replicated to drive efficiency and profitability through the delivery of real-time information to sellers, or any key stakeholder for that matter.

Unlike the old days of helping merchants set up eCatalogs and arranging for shipping and handling, the new world of omnichannel selling places greater demand on anticipating and managing orders with close involvement of a range of key stakeholders from marketers to suppliers to store managers in every step of the fulfillment and delivery process.

That’s why vendors such as NetSuite have been moving in the same direction by acquiring Order Motion for its order management apps to augment its eCommerce apps offerings. Similarly Oracle has made its Distributed Order Orchestration capabilities for managing customer orders across multiple order capture and fulfillment systems the centerpiece of its Fusion applications strategy.

In the case of SAP, it is banking on the combination of hybris, bread-and-butter transaction systems for ordering and fulfilling, as well as SAP HANA in-memory database technology to deliver the right eCommerce information to the right people in real time, thus allowing for maximum velocity regardless of the volumes of customer inquiries, orders and purchases.

Co-CEO Jim Snabe said the purchase of hybris is instrumental in helping SAP deliver a fully integrated set of building blocks from mobile to Web for SAP to address the global eCommerce opportunities.

The hybris purchase follows a string of eCommerce applications purchases by SAP, as shown in the following table.

YearSAP’s eCommerce, Retail InvestmentsFunctions
2013hybrisOmnichannel eCommerce
2012AribaB2B eCommerce
2011CrossgateB2B integration
2009SAF AGOrdering and Forecasting for retailers
2006PraxiseCommerce applications
2006Frictionless CommerceeCommerce applications
2005KhimetricsPricing optimization

Source: Apps Run The World, June 2013