Breaking News – IBM acquisition of Emptoris confirmed

- February 1, 2012 3:52 PM
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IBM have just announced that the acquisition of Emptoris has been completed. I thought they would have had to disclose the price but I can’t see it – clearly, I’m not an expert on US acquisition and regulatory matters!  IBM say this;

The acquisition expands IBM’s cloud-based analytics offerings that provide supply chain intelligence leading to better inventory management and cost efficiencies.

I’m not sure that’s how I would personally have presented the considerable capability that sits within the Emptoris product suite, but there’s no doubt this is a deal with a lot of upside potential for IBM (and, inevitably, a few risks). Emptoris will be positioned, still with their own specific corporate identity, firmly within the IBM “Smarter Planet, Smarter Commerce ” software business, in the “Buy” quadrant of the Smarter Commerce model (Buy, Market, Sell, Service).

There are some interesting products already within that area, the Sterling product range being perhaps the best known to procurement people. But the Emptoris acquisition does mean that IBM will now be very firmly targeting the CPO. Historically, my experience when I worked in such roles was that IBM sold very hard and successfully to the CIO and business leadership, but didn’t focus particularly on procurement. (or maybe it was just me…) They were better and easier to work with than some tech companies I could mention (but won’t), but often procurement would be no more than a rubber stamp to the CIO / IBM discussion and decision.

So to make a success of this, not just for the Emptoris acquisition specifically, but by driving more products and services (including the outsourcing offering for instance) into the “Buy” sector, IBM will need to develop more direct, intimate relationships with that “new” bunch of C-Suite executives – the CPOs. And actually, the people at Emptoris, who have targeted that population for years, could well help IBM do that more widely and successfully across that whole “Buy” area.

Finally, all 725 Emptoris staff are transferring across to IBM, and there don’t appear to be any negative implications for staff (at this point at least), which is always good news after a deal of this nature. Good luck, Emptorians!

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