June 5, 2013, 11:25 AM

SAP will buy hybris to build out its e-commerce technology

The hybris e-commerce platform will make SAP a stronger competitor to IBM and Oracle.

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In a move that positions it to better compete against major providers of e-commerce technology platforms, business software company SAP AG said today it has agreed to acquire hybris AG, a company that has been growing in the U.S. e-commerce technology market. SAP, which provides enterprise resource planning software such as inventory, financial and customer relationship management applications, did not say what it will pay for hybris.

Industry experts say the combination of the two Germany-based technology companies will bring SAP a much-needed e-commerce technology platform to better compete against other major providers of enterprise software with established e-commerce platforms, notably Oracle Corp., with its ATG e-commerce technology, and IBM Corp., with its WebSphere Commerce platform. “This brings SAP to be one of the leaders,” says Peter Sheldon, an e-commerce technology analyst with Forrester Research Inc.

Sheldon adds that SAP’s e-commerce technology, which it packages as Web Channel Experience Management, lacks the features and functionality of more developed e-commerce platforms like hybris, ATG and WebSphere that enable companies to build more effective online merchandising and marketing programs.

While hybris brings SAP a strong e-commerce technology platform, the acquisition will also bring hybris more financial resources and innovative technology from SAP, Sheldon adds. SAP has been developing innovative technology such as its HANA applications for web analytics and data processing, and it will be interesting to see how SAP integrates such technology with hybris technology, Sheldon says.

SAP also has online marketing technology that can add to the ability of the hybris platform to coordinate online marketing campaigns with e-commerce operations, an area where industry analysts have said hybris has been lacking. That could improve how retailers on hybris technology can trigger e-mail campaigns or display ads based on how customer shop on their e-commerce sites.

SAP and hybris said today that hybris will continue to operate as an independent business unit of SAP and retain its existing senior management team led by hybris CEO Ariel Ludi and president and co-founder Carsten Thoma. "Joining with SAP will significantly expand the scope, scale and power of hybris' commerce platform,” Ludi and Thoma said today.

Hybris, which recently raised $30 million in capital, has two clients in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 and is ranked eighth among vendors of e-commerce platforms in Internet Retailer’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers guide. SAP has eight clients in the 2013 Top 500 and four in the 2012 Second 500.

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