So SAP finally did what many in the supply chain space had assumed would: acquired Pittsburgh based IO vendor SmartOps. Full disclosure, I worked at SmartOps in 2009 running marketing.
The news really is not so surprising, other than the acquisition actually happened! SAP and SmartOps were very close partners since 2006, a relationship that really was one where SAP was getting the milk for free from the SmartOps cow. The question became, why would SAP spend money when they were already getting all the benefits of the relationship? While all the details are not out yet, and may never be, it seems that SAP finally felt it was time to take full ownership of the SmartOps solution. The deal seems to have been driven from the HANA side of the house. Does SAP see this as a chance of getting some intelligence baked into HANA, giving that technology some teeth? The combination does hold some promise for providing real time intelligence to the supply chain process.
The combination, if management properly, could spell real trouble for companies that are working in the S&OP and Demand Sensing areas, think of Kinaxis, SteelWedge, Terra Technologies, Logility and the usual suspects such as JDA. The advantage for SAP is that they have worked so closely with SmartOps for so many years that the integration should be seamless….literally. The question becomes, can SAP nurture and give this new combination the necessary love and attention to truly get the most out of it? Or will SmartOps and their value just fade into the back rooms of SAP?