Let’s take a quick look at the most recent SAP cloud acquisitions:

Acquisition

Technology

Founded in

Domain

SuccessFactors

J2EE-based

2001

HR

Ariba

Looks like it is Java-based – at least for OnPremise installations [SOURCE]. Typical Ariba jobs usually require JAVA.

1996

Supplier / Procurement

Hybris

The hybris architecture is based on Java and the application runs in a Java EE Servlet Container.  [SOURCE].

1997

E-Commerce

FieldGlass

Based on J2EE architecture utilizing an n-tier approach.

1999

Contingent Workforce Management and Service

Note: There are other cloud-related activities (such as partnerships like that with the Adobe Marketing Cloud, etc) but in this blog, I’m concentrating on the acquisitions.

Analysis

  • These are all established/experienced cloud companies rather than start-ups which aren’t usually acquired but rather brought into the SAP ecosystem via the HANA start-up program or SAP Ventures investments.
  • These are all companies which were/are largely hosted in their own data centers / other private clouds rather than public clouds (for example, AWS). For example, here is the description of FieldGlass data centers:

The Fieldglass application resides on physical servers and virtual machines. Production infrastructure is maintained in both Savvis and ServerCentral data centers located in Elk Grove, Illinois, and are supported by operations infrastructure maintained in an internal server room in Chicago, Illinois. [SOURCE]

  • These are companies whose main products are largely based on established Java-based technologies. You don’t see such products being based on node.js, scala or other more modern programming languages. This doesn’t mean that these companies don’t deal with the latest technology (for example, here is a Hadoop-related job offering for Ariba) just that the main technological foundation is more on traditional enterprise architectures.
  • The focus on the acquired companies is primarily in the Line of Business (LoB) area of SAP’s cloud portfolio.  These aren’t companies with a primary technological focus (IaaS, PaaS, etc) – such functionality is already covered by the HANA Cloud Platform with all its various components.  The hybris acquisition might not be seen as a pure LoB offering but its current usage scenarios (for example, those associated with the Cloud for Sales or collaboration with Adobe) are in this area.  This tendency reminds me of SalesForce’s strategy of ”focusing on strategic acquisitions to expand its market share” rather than focusing on acquiring the latest technology (ie Facebook and Oculus Rift).

Predicting the next acquisitions

After these recent acquisitions, it appears that we may have to wait a while for new ones:

Luca Mucic, who will succeed Werner Brandt as financial chief next month told Reuters that he would keep an eye for potential targets, but that there is no need as sales in the cloud business jumped by more than a third in the first quarter. [SOURCE]

Chief Executive Bill McDermott has said he would look at potential acquisition targets but said on Thursday he was not in “hot pursuit”. [SOURCE]

If cloud-related acquisitions were being planned, we might be able to use the analysis above to predict what companies might be targeted.  We should look for older cloud companies that are using JAVA-based technologies. My assumption is that such companies won’t be in the LoB area but rather more likely in the Industry portfolio which is gaining importance in SAP’s cloud strategy.

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