Daily Archives: June 14, 2012

SAP bought Ariba. What Should You Do?

Don't Panic

With one hand, pick up your copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with your other hand grab a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, have a seat, and read a few random entries while you have a nice relaxing drink. And definitely don’t panic.

In fact, don’t even give the acquisition a second thought right now. Why? Despite what every e-Procurement, e-Sourcing, and Supplier Network vendor seems to be implying with their comments (as summarized by Peter Smith over on Spend Matters Europe), press releases, etc., the reality of the situation is that, for the time being, nothing is going to change and you don’t have anything to worry about.

Since no one else is going to spell it out for you, the doctor is.

  • Ariba was the largest pure-play vendor in the Sourcing/Procurement space
  • SAP is one of the largest ERP vendors in the space
  • Large Companies are slow moving
  • Large Companies have high overheads
    (and can’t afford to sacrifice revenue streams without replacements)
  • SAP has a Fusion road-map through 2020

When you put all this together, and consider what has happened with past acquisitions in both companies, the following picture quickly emerges:

  • SAP is going to slowly merge Ariba products into its suite(s) through Fusion
    but this is going to take years and in the meantime
  • SAP is going to continue to sell and support Ariba as-is in the interim
    because it needs to not only make its money back, but support the high overheads until it is in a position to absorb Ariba into it’s core platform and do away with needing to maintain a separate suite.

In other words, you have a few years to come up with a backup plan if the way SAP merges Ariba’s suite into their platform isn’t to your liking or if the renewal costs when it happens are too rich for your blood. The only people who need to panic now are SAP partners where a significant percentage of their business came from SAP referrals as SAP will no longer be referring anyone with Sourcing, Procurement, or Supplier Network needs to third parties. (Companies like Hubwoo might be in this boat.)

Now, depending on where you are in terms of a renewal, or how much data you have in the system, or how much you use the system, you might not want to wait a few years to start thinking about moving off of the platform if you are worried about it meeting your future needs, but you don’t have to rush into a decision. And you certainly don’t have to panic. Time is on your side.