In case you missed it, several weeks it was announced that SAP plans to acquire Crossgate, the developers of SAP’s SAP Information Interchange. SAP had for a long time been a significant investor and supporter of Crossgate.
In this article from ZDnet on the acquisition, they describe the purpose of the acquisition as, “SAP is looking to provide a market to connect customers to business partners. In a nutshell, Crossgate builds services that allow multiple trading partners to exchange data even if partners have different technology platforms.” In other words, it is a managed services EDI/B2B hub.
In my early career I worked as an EDI manager. During that time EDI vendors were independent software companies selling EDI translator solution. Today, much of EDI is operated in the cloud and most of the vendors have been acquired by much larger companies. In addition, companies like Ariba have emerged and now compete directly with ERP vendors like SAP. ZDnet adds, “SAP’s acquisition of Crossgate appears to be a direct threat to Ariba.” Let the fun begin!!!
EDI today reminds of a Facebook or Linkedin for companies doing business with each other. Everyone connects, completes their profiles and then looks for others to connect with. These are the roles that the SAP Information Interchange and Crossgate now play.
In addition to traditional EDI, the past few years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of nations requiring electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) between buyers and sellers. In Latin America for example, many countries (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, etc.) are introducing and mandating very strict requirements. For most companies, simply monitoring and governing all of these changing requirements is a significant job, not to mention trying to technically support the real-time data exchange requirements. Many companies are quickly looking for a managed e-invoicing service provider to fulfill these requirements in the cloud and to provide integration with their ERP. SAP is now going to be in that business.
The SAP Information Interchange and the Crossgate e-invoicing services provide cloud based global e-invoicing for large companies around the world. They offer solutions for Mexico e-Invoicing, Brazil e-Invoicing, Argentina and over 35 other countries. This is a very interesting development indeed.