In its latest bet to forward its Smarter Commerce initiative, IBM snapped up Emptoris. The company bolsters the procurement and supply chain operations side of Big Blue's analytics business.
Emptoris is the second cloud analytics acquisition IBM has made in as many weeks. Big Blue bought DemandTec last week.
The back-to-back deals demonstrate IBM's commitment to Smarter Commerce, which the company has pegged as a $20 billion market opportunity in software alone. Smarter Commerce aims to help organizations that are struggling to meet the demands of rapidly shifting buying patterns in the era of mobile and social networks.
"If you remember the four P's -- product, price, promotion and placement -- Emptoris fits on the product side to manage the supply network and source products very efficiently," said Craig Hayman, general manager of Industry Solutions at IBM. "With Emptoris, you can put out a bid for laptops, for example, and have suppliers compete for that business. That often leads to better quality or better terms and conditions, and you can do it very rapidly."
With more than 350 customers in 75 countries, Emptoris has global clients that span multiple industries, including consumer products, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, chemical, oil and gas, utilities, construction and industrial manufacturing.
"Procurement is being asked to show how it can deliver value to the organization," Hayman said. "Adding Emptoris strengthens the comprehensive capabilities we deliver and enables IBM to meet the specific needs of chief procurement officers."
Emptoris' spend-management solutions complement the existing B2B integration and supply chain management capabilities IBM acquired through the purchase of Sterling Commerce in 2010. The Emptoris acquisition will allow IBM to deliver more solutions focused on the needs of sourcing and procurement professionals.
Rounding Out the Four P's
Hayman said IBM's acquisition of DemandTec last week fills the pricing aspect of the four Ps. DemandTec gives IBM cloud-based price, promotion and other merchandising and marketing analytics to help companies better define the best price points and product mix based on customer buying trends.
Hayman pointed to the acquisition of Unica in 2010 on the promotion side of the four Ps. The Unica acquisition gave IBM enterprise and cloud-based marketing software solutions that help businesses streamline and automate marketing processes, and understand and predict customer preferences.
Finally, the Core Metrics acquisition in 2010 filled the placement aspect of the four Ps. Core Metrics offers a cloud-based delivery model to gain real-time insight into consumer interactions internally and through social media networks to develop faster, more targeted marketing campaigns.
"We launched Smarter Commerce in March. Truth be told we were working on it for about two years. We were deliberately acquiring the pieces before we launched it because we wanted to be sure we understood it," Hayman said.
"Now we'll acquire more capabilities but we'll also build organically. We'll work with our customers and business partners to identify a slew of different scenarios on how they would like these products integrated together to make commerce easier for our customers."