SAP is buying privately held Hybris in a bid to build out an e-commerce software offering that connects with customers across multiple "channels, devices and touch points."
Terms of the deal, which was announced Wednesday, were not disclosed. It is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
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Hybris, which is based in Switzerland, is the fastest-growing e-commerce software vendor in the world, according to SAP's announcement. It sells an "omni-channel" platform spanning mobile, call center, in-store and Web commerce, and caters to both large and small companies, SAP said.
In addition, the Hybris technology provides a "single view" of customers and products across channels thanks to built-in master data management and other capabilities, SAP said.
Hybris counts Levi's, 3M and Nikon among its more than 500 customers, according to its website.
While Hybris will be run as an independent business unit, SAP plans to integrate the vendor's software with its HANA in-memory database as well as the Jam social network.
The Hybris deal comes some months after SAP launched 360 Customer, which combines its CRM (customer relationship management) application with HANA, Jam and other components.
Collectively, SAP's moves can be viewed as a response to rival vendors such as Oracle and Salesforce.com, which have also been trying to build out product families meant to help companies build closer relationships with customers amid the rise of social media and mobile devices.
The Hybris announcement comes one day after Salesforce.com announced it would purchase multichannel marketing software vendor ExactTarget for $2.5 billion.
SAP had already made a number of e-commerce-related acquisitions through the purchase of Ariba and Crossgate. But Hybris will serve as "a defining step in SAP's evolution to a business-to-business-to-consumer company," co-CEO Bill McDermott said during a conference call Wednesday.
It's also going to be part of SAP's plans to "take over" the CRM software market, McDermott said. Analyst firm Gartner recently issued a market-share reportthat placed Salesforce.com in the top spot, moving past SAP.
McDermott disparaged Salesforce.com's decision to buy ExactTarget, saying SAP's strategy for e-commerce is "not about sending out email blasts." Email marketing is one of a range of capabilities offered by ExactTarget.
Rather, SAP intends to provide "everything a CEO needs to run a corporation in full intimacy with their consumer," and in real time, McDermott said.
While not specifically addressing Gartner's report, McDermott said Hybris "is the piece we had to have to complete the puzzle."
McDermott declined to say what SAP is paying for Hybris, but called it "a fair price" and "consistent with other fast-growing assets."