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?
- a competitive intelligence resource for select members of the Microsoft Dynamics channel.