SAP SE hopes to build a massive cloud-based marketplace that will enable organizations to consume software and services as needed on a self-service basis, according to a New York Times report citing senior-level insiders. If true, the plan would add the business software giant to the growing ranks of enterprise vendors trying to put their own unique spin on the concept of the app store.
The portal will extend far beyond the company’s current portfolio. The German software giant intends to attract third party vendors – including competitors – as well as professional services providers and even job seekers to build an “open and global” business network spanning every area of the typical SAP customer’s operations.
SAP’s architectural approach is similar to that of Dell Inc., which launched an online exchange in November spanning multiple public clouds, in contrast to the more typical exchange, which is tied to a specific vendor’s platform. Like the hardware giant, SAP relies heavily on partners for the hosting component of its strategy, a fact that suggests that the upcoming marketplace may attempt to fill a similar role as an infrastructure-agnostic solutions hub.
That could help integrate the numerous products that the company obtained as part of its buying spree in recent years into a more cohesive whole, a goal that Dell is also pursuing. But unifying its portfolio is only the first stepping stone in SAP’s broader strategy for the marketplace, which it envisions as looking less like the enterprise cloud exchanges of today and more like the corporate version of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s namesake e-commerce platform.
Steve Singh, who joined SAP through its acquisition of Concur Technologies Inc. for $8.3 billion in September and who has been tapped to lead the marketplace. The plan draws heavily on the firm’s acquisitions, particularly the expense management system it gained as part of Concur and the cloud-based procurement services that came with the $4.3 billion purchase of Ariba Inc. in 2012. Both already enjoy wide use in the enterprise, an advantage that may go a long way toward lowering the adoption barrier to the upcoming marketplace, which will bring the pieces together under the analytic umbrella of HANA.
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