The world went crazy last weekend when SAP (previous CloudAve coverage) made an announcement about their intent to acquire SuccessFactors (previous CloudAve coverage), the cloud based Human Capital Management provider, for approximately $3.4 Billion. SAP, being very late to the cloud game and after few missteps, seems to be taking the acquisition as a fast path to cloud credentials. In a way SuccessFactors complements SAP’s existing solutions and can help them in the HCM space. This announcement also signifies how important this segment has become in the enterprise software industry, helping Workday become even more important and a steady acquisition target. If Workday pushes its way to IPO, this news will be very helpful. The point of this post is not to talk about the impact of the acquisition. It has been hashed out by many in the industry including this good overview. I want to highlight a footnote piece which is not important in the context of this huge acquisition news.
SuccessFactors has deployed a simple sample application (http://sfsf.cloudfoundry.com) that gives a sense of what is possible. The application integrates SuccessFactorsâ employee location data with Google Maps to calculate the impact of a facilities move.
I also used it as an example to highlight how PaaS is slowly gaining acceptance in the enterprise segment.
This news is interesting because:
- This highlights the fact that enterprise PaaS is real and it is here to stay
- Even though I have said many times that VMForce, the partnership between VMware and Salesforce, is dead, this news once again establishes the fact that VMware is competing head to head with Force.com
- There is a meme going around the cloud blogosphere and media on how PaaS is going to kill SaaS and this announcement could feed the meme because PaaS could end up serving the 9custom) application needs of enterprise than SaaS
With this acquisition, I will be interested in knowing what will happen to this SuccessFactors plan? Will they move out of CloudFoundry to SAP’s own On-Demand “River” platform which can be used for developing custom applications. According to the slides shown in SAP Influencers Summit, this platform offers:
- Intuitive browser-based application modeling environment
- Flexible user permissions model and robust authentication schemes
- Easy account, application and user management
- Highly extensible via Custom Widget interface, Code Box scripting, and REST APIs
- Available as a multi-tenant cloud service
- Connectivity to SAP On-Premise Systems via “Gateway”
Already SuccessFactors backend is well integrated with SAP platforms and I don’t see why they would use CloudFoundry for custom app development when SAP itself is pushing their On-Demand “River” platform as a solution for custom application development. I would love to talk to SAP and hear their thoughts on this. It will be interesting to watch how this plays out.