An October research note titled “M&A Activity Poses Risks and Benefits to Ecommerce Plans” gave clients a short list of mergers and acquisitions in the e-commerce sector over the prior 18 months. The note also gave clients a set of tactical guidelines to follow as they managed through vendor transitions that might have an impact on their organization’s e-commerce critical technology path.
2 months later, we can add a few more M&A transactions to the list:
- IBM: Announces plans to acquire Emptoris, a provider of supply and contract management solutions.
- IBM: Also announces plans to acquire DemandTec, a provider of price optimization and merchandising for retail.
- Microsoft: Announces it is handing off future development, marketing and support of the Microsoft Commerce Server product and technology (post Commerce Server 2009 R2) to Acentium.
Moving forward into 2012, e-Commerce executives need to anticipate ongoing market disruption as merger and acquisition (M&A) activity continues between vendors and in adjacent technologies. Map vendors and technologies that are part of the critical path of your company’s e-commerce objectives, and identify contingency plans for vendors that may be impacted. Integrate e-commerce interactions with customer points of contact in the contact center, retail partners, channel partners, and direct sales. Plan for rapid adoption of mobile, tablet, and social technologies into your e-commerce platforms using short-term solutions, at the same time as you evaluate longer-term architectural tools and platforms as they become available.
Here is a summary of our recommendations if you are on the receiving end of M&A activity with your organization’s e-commerce vendors. For more details, including a 12-month set of tactical guidelines, click here: <http://www.gartner.com/resId=1830919 >
- Evaluate your vendor’s vision and strategic plans critically, and from the perspective of short term challenges to the business. Realize that the biggest impact to your organization, and the greatest level of uncertainty in the vendor’s organization, is likely to be felt in the short term of six to 18 months after an acquisition.
- Identify your business requirements for the next 18 months, and map dependencies and integration points with back-end ERP, CRM, supply chain management (SCM) and payment/subscription applications against your vendor’s technology road map.
- Develop contingency plans in the event that short-term commitments from your vendor are not met. Identify internal and external “reserve” resources that can be brought to bear for custom development if needed.
- Quantify the impact to your e-commerce operations, your customers and your organization if you decide to transition away from your incumbent e-commerce provider. M&A activity can be an effective catalyst to force a re-evaluation of current e-commerce implementations.
What has been the impact of M&A activity on your organization’s e-commerce and CRM plans? Are these changes a net + or a net – for your company?