Skip to main content

Microsoft, Quo Vadis? You are the last one to the Party!

Salesforce acquires DemandWare. Lots has been written about the acquisition itself, so I will not comment on the fact itself. Instead I will ponder about implications on Microsoft.

After all Microsoft is the remaining of the big CRM players that does not have an ecommerce platform of its own.

Oracle acquired ATG in 2010.

SAP's engagement in ecommerce culminated in the 2013 acquisition of Hybris, after having Internet Sales Solutions since 1996 or so, keywords for the connoisseurs are ISA or WCEM (and I will not mention any R/3 transaction codes here ... ).

That leaves Microsoft.

All other players I would position in another league - which doesn't mean that they are bad solutions.

With ATG, Hybris, and Demandware the major independent platforms are taken, too; with the exception of Intershop, maybe. That is, if one assumes that IBM doesn't intend to sell off its Websphere.

Microsoft pursuing a cloud strategy with their own infrastructure doesn't increase the number of potential candidates, too. if Microsoft is interested at all, that is.

Demandware with its focus on retail would have been a good fit from an industry point of view and Paula Rosenblum from Retail Systems Research concludes that there has been a bidding war behind the scenes while Forbes pronounces the purchasing price as too high.

Microsoft Quo Vadis?

With Azure Microsoft has a strong platform and with Dynamics CRM a very competitive CRM system. Microsoft also has a strong ecosystem and a strong customer base.  They are also a long time ecosystem player.

But then they also acquire technology they need, if they perceive a gap in their offerings. Recent examples include AdxStudio and FieldOne.

Considering the rising need of Microsofts customers to have the ability of delivering seamless customer experiences/customer engagement there now is a visible gap in Microsofts offering. The gap being a missing input channel of data that feeds their AI that enables better engagement.

There are two Options

Well, actually there are three, but one can rule out that they build a strong ecommerce solution in a short time. Microsoft now has the choice of
  • pushing APIs or to
  • acquire an existing solution
They probably will do both.

While Esteban Kolsky in a brief discussion we had justifiedly asks why it matters in a platform business

I think that in an ecosystem both can happen and that there is a natural gravity towards the owner of the platform once there is momentum enough.

The $1,000 Questions: Whether? Who?

Well, of that I am not sure at all.
And I am not alone.

While Paul Greenberg doesn't know (yet)
Ray Wang wonders why Microsoft let SiteCore slip away (they purchased the Commerce Server and just got acquired by private equity firm EQT) and puts a cautious bet on Episerver.

Both of them are already deep in the Microsoft ecosystem, so technically would make good candidates.

Then there are the likes of Intershop and Magento, neither of them as integrated into the MS stack. there probably are some more candidates out there in the wild (e.g. OrckestraMartjacknopcommerceKentiko, ...). Most of these likely do not have the necessary scale and/or industry focus.

But this is all conjecture and Paul surely is right in saying that they will survive without an own ecommerce.

Exciting times.

What do you think?


Last Year's Top 5 Popular Posts

SAP CRM for S/4HANA - News from the Customer Frontier

It has been a little more than half a year now that I didn’t update on what is going on with SAP CRM and S/4HANA (which I will refer to as S/4 from now on; SAP it is time for you to change the unwieldy name to something more manageable). What Happened – So FarAs you are well aware SAP is working on integrating a simplified version of SAP CRM into S4. The original roadmap offered a first customer release of an integrated product in early 2018, based on the September 2017 release of S4. The integration was planned as an add-on to S4. The initial scope of this CRM add on for S/4 was supposed to cover what is referred to as ‘core service’ functionality. This initial release shall be followed by ‘core sales’ functionality later in 2018. 2019 then is supposed to be dedicated to another round-off release covering further sales and service functionality, including loyalty management and migration tools. Roadmap and statements also so far have been fairly fuzzy about the strategic distinction b…

More Nimble News

The NewsIn the past 5 weeks or so, there have been quite a few news items about Nimble, with the biggest product news dated September 28 and the most interesting business development dated October 11. The headlines include Nimble’s deeper collaboration with Microsoft and its channel partners, as well as product innovations intended to increase the value delivered to Office 365- and G Suite users. In particular, Nimble: ·Now integrates with Circleback, an AI-powered contact capture and cleaning tool as well as their business card scanner. Nimble is now able to extract high quality contact information from email signatures and to add it to the Nimble contact record. This way it becomes easier to keep contact information current. ·Has partnered with NeoCloud. NeoCloud is a managed cloud services company that deploys and manages Office 365. The company now bundles Nimble into all its Office 365 deals and thus offers business applications on top of its infrastructure- and productivity-focused…

Oracle Ups The Ante - Does the Salesforce Empire Strike Back?

The fall conference season is in full swing. Of the big 4 we had Oracle Open World and the SAP Hybris Summit, with Dreamforce, SAPPHIRE, and Microsoft Connect() still to come. I have covered the SAP Hybris Summit, so do not need to say much about it anymore. The event was short on great announcements – maybe they will come at SAPPHIRE – but certainly contributed to showing the clear vision forward that SAP has. And it is a compelling and consistent vision. OOW 17 was a different beast, most notably with the announcement of Oracle 18c. A year ago Oracle took Amazon full on, declaring it enemy number 1. Many analysts, including myself, were confused about this. Why Amazon and not Microsoft? After all Microsoft is the company that has a very credible IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Add the operating system and productivity software and you have a company with a formidable software stack that can be on the winning side of a Clash of Titans. While CTO Larry Ellison still took pot shots at Amazon in his …

SAP CRM into S/4HANA - Did SAP Hit Bulls Eye?

After having talked with Volker Hildebrand about the future of SAP CRM and whether or not there will be a CRM component in S/4HANA at CRM evolution 2017 I now had the chance to follow up with some folks back at SAP in Walldorf. A little RecapVolker told me that, unsurprisingly, SAP is working actively on adding CRM functionality into S/4HANA. In fact, they are merging SAP CRM into it. This is in my eyes meanwhile also the preferred of the two possible options; the other one would be marrying SAP Hybris C4C into S/4HANA. This is the approach which I originally preferred as it would lead to a cleaner code base. I changed my mind, putting customer friendliness reasons over technological cleanliness. The main advantages of merging SAP CRM into S4/HANA over SAP Hybris C4C are that this approach a)Opens a future roadmap for current SAP CRM customers that stretches beyond 2025. These customers else are at risk of defecting. b)Provides the continued chance for customers to run their SAP instance…

Clari - Nipping at Salesforce's Heels?