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IBM Acquires Sterling Commerce — And Ups the Ante on B2B

by Benoit Lheureux  |  May 24, 2010  |  7 Comments

Just on the heals of IBM acquiring Cast Iron Systems a few weeks ago, today IBM announced that it is acquiring Sterling Commerce for $1.4b in cash. Adding to other recent events such as GXS acquiring Inovis this once again ups the ante on B2B.

Gartner’s formal consolidated response to the Cast Iron acquisition will likely publish by end-of-day tomorrow.

We’re already working on a consolidated response to this acquisition as well, but shooting from the hip here’s a few initial reactions:

  • Acquired by IBM WebSphere group, along with Cast Iron, Lombardi, etc. — they’re decisively assembling a lotta B2B horsepower
  • The WebSphere group now has even *more* integration software — hey, has anyone seen my software roadmap GPS?
  • Sterling Collaborative Network + Cast Iron Cloud == A viable integration as a service offering for both traditional ecommerce & Cloud services
  • The WebSphere group now has a bunch of Apps — some inherently multi-enterprise Apps — that’s a lot *on top* of application infrastructure
  • IBM has pitched this acquisition in the context of “Dynamic Business Networks” — more expansive, but builds upon business process networks

From an industry impact think about other IT mega-vendors and think about other ‘pure-play’ B2B vendors … what impact might this acquisition have on SAP’s alliance with Crossgate or Oracle’s alliance with E2open, etc.?

I’ve said it before and its worth saying again — these are interesting times in B2B! 🙂


– bjl

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Category: b2b  business-process-networks  cloud-services-integration  ecommerce  edi  iaas  ibm  integration  multienterprise-applications  saas-integration  

Benoit J. Lheureux
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
31 years IT industry

Benoit Lheureux is a research VP in Gartner Research and agenda manager for the Application Infrastructure group. He focuses on three areas: application integration, middleware and B2B e-commerce, with the emphasis on the latter. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on IBM Acquires Sterling Commerce — And Ups the Ante on B2B

  1. Andrew says:

    This is much more meaningful than the GXS deal with Inovis. This is a mega vendor taking out a major B2B vendors. Why didn’t AT&T “get it”? Does this mean that IBM has a chance to limit Oracle and SAP’s ability to get into B2B at a serious level? I don’t mean the transaction; I mean the multienterprise business processes…

  2. Sterling has languished under AT&T, and the entire Gentran mapping and file translation ‘mafia’, is on its way out. They have a good book, and IBM will do its best to assimilate the good bits, but the WebSphere division will have a hard time with the two different philosophies of how trading partners interconnect.

    The Web Sphere division has killed its fair share of acquisitions. I wonder if getting out from under a Common Carrier’s Shadow will give Sterling more elbow room, or if IBM will divest the EDI Communications end of the business, ???

    The last thing they care about is the arcane VAN business, and Web Sphere has always managed closed networks of trading partners, occasional awkward FTP and AS2 hubs, and VAN connections, i’ll bet that Sterling and IBM are sitting around a bucket of fried chicken right now deciding if the VAN business is too much trouble.

    I implore my IBM colleagues to sing the EDI guy song with me

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gartner, Christy Pettey, Susan Moore, Mark Cummuta, Sales 2.0 Network and others. Sales 2.0 Network said: RT @Gartner_inc: #IBM Acquires #Sterling Commerce And Ups the Ante on B2B – Benoit Lheureux, Gartner, on his blog […]

  4. […] XHTML ← IBM Acquires Sterling Commerce — And Ups the Ante on B2B […]

  5. […]  北京时间5月24日消息,据外国媒体报道,IBM于今天表示,已经与AT&T(美国电报电话公司)签署了一份协议。根据此协议规定,IBM已经同意以14亿美元的现金收购AT&T旗下全球最大的商务软件整合服务提供商之一的Sterling Commerce公司。这是自2008年收购商业智能软件厂商Cognos以来,IBM进行的最大一笔收购。Gartner认为,这是IBM数周前收购云计算公司Cast Iron Systems之后非常自然的一步,两者结合将使IBM能够为B2B市场提供预装或者基于云计算的解决方案与服务。 […]

  6. […] of my colleagues have blogged on this already, namely Gene Alvarez (representing e-Commerce) and Benoit Lheureux (representing B2B integration).  Both provide some interesting insight as to what the impact will […]

  7. […] would have the luxury of time to sort that out and refine a new going-forward strategy. However, IBM’s acquisition of Sterling Commerce (additional research on that to be published soon too) adds a substantial new element of urgency to […]

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