Yesterday Liaison — a vendor I recently evaluated for our recent update to the Magic Quadrant for Integration Service Providers (login required) announced that it is acquiring ADX — another B2B vendor I’ve followed for years. While this particular commercial transaction was not by itself a huge deal (it does incrementally strengthen and grows Liaison’s market position while allaying concerns about ADX’s long-term viability — look for a bit more analysis on that in a day or so), their action adds to and underscores the highly active state of the B2B market segment including a series of activities including:
- Tibco’s acquisition of Foresight on Friday (my colleagues and I are working on analysis)
- The GXS acquisition of Inovis in December — see my post and published research on that
- SPS Commerce’ December IPO filing with the SEC — analysis on that too available soon
- Oracle’s alliance with E2open on Business Process Networks in November (research here)
And so on, including other such moves in 2009 such as Elemica’s acquisition of Rubber Networks, Cast Iron’s alliance with Cloud providers such as Amazon and Google, and IBM’s alliance with Hubspan to offer business process networks for WebSphere. As I recently noted this has recently attracted substantial investor interest, but as Jijesh Devan asked in one of his comments on that post: why “this renewed interest” in B2B? I attribute this (at least) to the following factors:
- Opportunistic M&A — in a perceived ‘bottom’ (let’s hope) market movers acquire, merge, etc
- B2B maturity — by customer, pricing, or reliability, integration solutions are getting better
- OPEX vs CAPX — when capital is tight, integration services look attractive relative to software
- Cloud proliferation — traditional ecommerce still rules, but Cloud computing needs integration
Many companies still (rightfully) run their own B2B hubs but it’s clear from client interest and the rapid growing managed services business that B2B integration outsourcing in particular is hitting its prime. I’m having discussions with Cloud computing / SaaS providers about how to address on-premise integration requirements. I’m also speaking to investors and CEO’s of B2B vendors citing “upcoming announcements” — war chests are being prepared … battle lines are being drawn … no doubt the B2B market in 2010 is gonna be fun.
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