SAP Business One Manufacturing....now owned by Infor

JasonCJasonC Posts: 31Member
edited 2009-06-19 in General Chat
This can't be good for the future of SAP Business One. My title is bit misleading because there really is no manufacturing solution as a core part of Business One. As a customer if you want manufacturing on B1, then you buy software from SoftBrands/FourthShift. As an SAP rival if you want to remove B1 from the manufacturing space you just buy the whole Softbrands company. That's what Infor just did.

Softbrands has two primary products, a hotel management system which it acquired in 2006 and the FourthShift manufacturing software. Per Ray Wang at Forrester there is good opportunity for Infor here in the hospitality space. Fine, but I'm more interested in the FourthShift part of this. Softbrands is/was a major player in the Business One channel. Just a couple of months ago it was named among to the "top 10 club" as one of the very top channel partners for the B1 product. The company gets plenty of airtime on SAP's website.

A few of the analysts/pundits I read do not think that SAP will maintain this relationship with Infor. That's huge. Is there any reason that a company should buy a combined B1/FourthShift manufacturing solution again? If you were about to buy this product you might stop and rethink things.

The obvious question that I haven't seen anybody ask is this...why didn't SAP buy them. Why let such a strategic partner solution go to a direct rival? As their stock dipped below $.050 per share I have to image that there was a time when the Softbrands CEO called up SAP and asked them to buy the company. One would think that would have been the best long term outcome for the product, the company, and its employees. Under Infor? It's anybody's guess what happens next (except for the slashing of R&D and leeching off the customer base part....we know about that part).

Take it a bit more broadly....if you are a company currently considering B1, whether in manufacturing or not, doesn't this give you pause? Either SAP had the option to buy SB and declined, or SB didn't want to be acquired by SAP and just didn't give them the option. In either case what does SAP's lack of action on this say about the vendor's overall commitment to the Business One product line?

Jason
http://www.partnercompete.com - a competitive intelligence resource for select members of the Microsoft Dynamics channel.

Comments

  • David_SingletonDavid_Singleton Posts: 5,454Member
    edited 2009-06-19
    Well I am not sure how this is bad news for SAP1 Users.

    I have upgraded many systems to Navision, but a particular upgrade from FourthShift leaves me with memories, lets call them nightmares that would make Freddie Kruger scared to sleep at night. The IT department had template emails prepared that they could send to all users each day warning them that the system crashed during the night, and what time to expect to be able to work the next day.It was one of those upgrades where you didn't ever have to hear "but we want Navision to do it like the old system".

    I am sure that they have fixed all that up since then, and its probably a pretty reliable system now, but I am left with a very bad taste.

    In any case, SAP 1 and R3 have about as much in common as Navision and Solomon (i.e. they have the same owner) and surely this move gives SAP a chance to push R3 instead of 1 for manufacturing prospects.

    (PS yes I realize that this post is just a marketing tackt, but just wanted to make that observation).

    <edit> Freddie of course...
    David Singleton
  • DenSterDenSter Posts: 8,128Member
    If SAP let B1 go that means it was either not profitable, or they are not interested in that market anymore. I think it is smart that a company goes back to what it is good at, but the skeptic in me thnks that this is all about the money.
  • JasonCJasonC Posts: 31Member
    David - you caught me. I do hope that a few partners come and check out partnercompete.com, provided they either represent Dynamics exclusively or are president's club/inner circle level for their Dynamics business.

    But I could have posted this anywhere (and did post it in a couple of LinkedIn groups in which I participate) if it was just about that. I thought this development would be of particular interest to the Navision community since without you there probably would not be a Business One. Back up several years and we saw SAP (and Oracle, and PeopleSoft) trying repeatedly to shoehorn their enterprise stuff down into the mid market. They failed over and over again. Those failures became especially painful for SAP when Navision started to beat them in opportunities within subsidiaries of large corporations that ran SAP at the hub. They could give their enterprise stuff away free to those subs, and it was still less affordable for the sub than buying a more appropriate solution. Navision's success, and then its acquisition by Microsoft, made it very clear to SAP that it had run out of time to try forcing the enterprise stuff down-market and a new approach was in order.

    B1 was originally all about trying to slow Microsoft's momentum in the business solutions market. This was clear in the way they rolled in out in each country and the specific targeting/recruitment of MBS employees and then partners as part of each launch. So now they have an install based of 20,000 customers on a product that I'm convinced they still wish they never had to buy. And a pending launch of a mid-market aimed Saas solution that their former CEO called the most important project that he worked on in his entire career at SAP. What to do now with the unexpected success on Business One? Maybe squander it away...because again, why let THE isv that makes B1 a viable play in the mfg market get acquired by a rival?
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