Monday, October 08, 2007

SAP buys Business Objects

This one's all over the financial press, so I won't bother with any links right now. But it's worth asking what's really driving this. As lots of people have observed, it's a pretty dramatic strategic turnaround for SAP - especially on the heels of the Business ByDesign product announcement (which seemed to underscore their internal-growth plan).

So are they just playing catch-up to Larry Ellison? Or is it a deeper problem? The market expects some pretty big revenue numbers from SAP, and there aren't but so many $100MM software sales out there to be had. OK, so they'll launch the ByDesign midmarket play, but sheesh, that's a lot of volume they'll need to generate.

Maybe cheaper just to buy the revenue.

So, will they end up buying Infor eventually, as AMR's Bruce Richardson and others hasve suggested? I was skeptical, but less so now. Haven't seen that S-1 filing yet. Just think of all the trees we could save by just fast-forwarding straight to that deal.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Burp! That little piece of Syteline tastes like a bad mortgage!

In an interview with Managing Automation, Infor CEO Jim Schaper says they're going to take a little breather from gobbling up software companies. Sadly, it seems the formerly voracious PEGs who funded the takeover spree until now are now worried about the overall state of the debt markets.

It's not fair! Just because Capital One sent all those credit card applications to unemployed people, that doesn't mean we should stop rounding up ERP corpses! What's an ERP graveyard without fresh carrion? :(

Oh well. Schaper does say Infor will concentrate on "preparing the company for an initial public stock offering, which could take place within the next 12 months." That's when the PEGs will cash out, of course. And that gives me an idea.

We've heard similar rumblings from the other end of the spectrum, open source CRM startup SugarCRM. Sugar will do maybe $15 million in revenues this year, but is in a hot space and growing like kudzu organically. Infor will do $2.3 billion (with a B) - that's 153 times more.

Anyone want to bet which company goes out first?

And if you really want to place a bet, talk to me about comparative valuation ranges for the offerings. Comment away!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Soft demand for Soft Brands (or, "please buy us, SAP")

Curiouser and curiouser. After spending the past couple of years batting eyelids at SAP with the "Fourth Shift SAP Business One Edition for Small Manufacturers Who Want to Staple Together Two Completely Dissimilar Legacy Windows Products," now Soft Brands has quietly turned off the lights on the solo Fourth Shift product altogether. Managing Automation has the story. This might be the first Graveyard case where there's nothing left to buy in the end: a nearly-cost-free de facto acquisition.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Oracle's Pretty Late Move

The long-expected PLM acquisition from Oracle came down today, as Agile Corp. fell into the arms of the Redwood Shores serial acquirer. Some good notes from MA's coverage:
  • "over the past two years, Agile has had difficulty achieving consistent profitability"
  • "Soon after taking over as CEO in January 2006, however, [CEO Jay] Fulcher also began searching for potential buyers for Agile"
  • AMR's Jim Shepherd: "It's not really a surprise that Oracle ended up with Agile. The surprise is that it took this long."
Fulcher trots out the familiar canard of CEO's who decide a sale/payday is the best strategic option for a software company that misses its numbers: "Scale is such an imperative in the enterprise software space," he said. "We were at a run rate of $134 million, which is a very difficult size to be and still maintain all the things that are important about being a public company."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Infor loyalty oath, cont'd

CRN reports that serial grave-digger Infor is really putting the screws to its partners, to the tune of one point of margin for every day they don't turn in their exclusivity agreement. Yikes!

(For a more partner-friendly option, click here!)

Monday, April 16, 2007

MS: No more, thanks, we're full

Here's a little counter-programming. The new head of Microsoft's BS division (um, that's short for Business Solutions), says they don't want to buy any more ERP systems, they've got enough.

Oh, and despite what you might have read below, Project Green is alive and well in Denmark:

A 900-person team there is developing the four products in the Dynamics family: AX, NAV, GP and SL.

That team -- an increasing number of which include non-Danes, thanks to flexible immigration laws in Denmark -- is taking each of those variations and merging them onto one code base, a long-term project that Andersen said could run through 2012 or even 2015.

Andersen downplayed the end date, saying that customers are "all going to get to the same place at the same point."


Thursday, March 15, 2007

SOA: The little TLA that could

(Or, "It's not easy being green")

The skeptics among you might think that Service Oriented Architecture is just another Three Letter Acronym ... but think again. In the same 24 hour news cycle, this powerful concept has provided a new face for the Frankenstein monster of graveyard acquisitions that is Infor (see "Infor Announces SOA Roadmap" at Managing Automation) and a fig leaf to cover up the rather embarassing nakedness of the Microsoft Business Solutions code sprint to rationalize their own four ERP product lines (see "Project Green is Dead" at eWeek).

Translation for the buzzword-impaired: rather than rewrite all these products from scratch with modern technologies and a unified vision, both companies will just make a halfhearted attempt to draw connections between the various pieces.

Sigh. I liked it better when it was called EAI.

Update 4/16: Renee Boucher Ferguson at eWeek thinks the little TTC (TLA That Could) has brought down Oracle's Fusion Apps too. Dang! Is there anything this thing can't do?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Oracle to beat SAP with $3.3B Hyperion stick

OK, so maybe they're just softening them up before closing in for the kill. Here's the money quote from Chuck Phillips:
"Oracle already has PeopleSoft HR, Siebel CRM, G-Log, Demantra, i-flex, Oracle Retail, and Oracle Fusion Middleware installed at SAP's largest ERP customers. Now Oracle's Hyperion software will be the lens through which SAP's most important customers view and analyze their underlying SAP ERP data."
Wow. Here's CRN coverage, NY Times, and C/Net.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Graveyard > Magic Quadrant

Frank Scavo, over at The Enterprise System Spectator, reports that Gartner Group has decided that there aren't enough midmarket ERPs left to bother doing one of their famous Magic Quadrant analyses.


Will the last one left turn out the lights?