A decade or so ago, Larry Ellison called companies like Ariba “single features”. Ariba has certainly grown into a “fat’ feature, but it is still a partial process player – provides portions of the source to pay cycle, and mostly supportive of indirect commodities. So, what’s an uber-integrated company like SAP spending $ 8 billion acquiring it and another feature (talent management) in SuccessFactors.
The best explanation is both of those companies have taken at least some of the risk out of the mystery called “cloud computing” – something SAP has internally not been able to do. Ariba is one of the few enterprise companies born over 5 years ago which has made a painful transition to the SaaS business model.
So, what does it mean for the SAP corpus? Can Ariba teach it to make a similar transition? Is SAP pivoting back to its transaction roots, after recent focus on Business Objects and HANA?
I will let you know as soon as I first figure out why it missed the opportunity to announce the acquisition last week at its big shindig.