Attack on Salesforce: SAP buys online marketer Emarsys

SAP headquarters in Walldorf

Services from the cloud are becoming increasingly important for SAP – the most recent takeover is also contributing to the business.

(Photo: dpa)

Düsseldorf With his shoe size 49, or 50 depending on the cut, Bob Stutz doesn’t do anything at all – too little choice. The manager orders his footwear straight away on the Internet. But he is not completely satisfied with the online shops. He often receives advertisements for beautiful shoes by email, which are only available up to size 46. That makes him wonder: “I’ve been ordering there for ages, they should know what I can and can’t buy.”

Such problems do not only concern Stutz as a private person. He guides SAP as President, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) department, which develops software for acquiring new customers and looking after them.

Now he has organized a takeover that is supposed to make the personalization of advertising in online retail much easier: The Dax-Group wants to take over the Austrian-American marketing specialist Emarsys.

In the market in which SAP competes with Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle, among others, this is a “big step forward,” said CEO Christian Klein on Thursday. The software manufacturer did not comment on the price of the cloud specialist, According to estimates from industry and financial circles, it should be between 500 million and one billion euros. The transaction is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter.

With the platform from Emarsys, companies can address customers via various channels such as online shops, social networks, e-mails and SMS, but also telephone, and – so the promise – personalized and in real time. “Companies and brands must be able to communicate with customers the way they want,” says Stutz. SAP has so far lacked such a solution that identifies customers across different channels.

$ 100 million in sales

According to the market researcher Forrester, Emarsys is one of the leading providers in the field of “Cross-Channel Campaign Management”. The software manufacturer offers an extensive range of products: It covers all phases of marketing, from customer acquisition to the bonus program, and uses artificial intelligence to automatically make recommendations to the marketing departments. There are also special solutions for certain industries such as retail and travel.

The potential is considerable: According to Forresters, Emarsys has around 2,300 customers worldwide, including Samsonite, Swiss, Puma and Sky. The regularly paid fees for the cloud services add up to around $ 100 million annually.

With this, SAP is strengthening its CRM area (although SAP prefers the term customer experience). There is a competitor in this market Salesforce number one by far. The software manufacturer from San Francisco increased its market share to 18.4 percent last year.

SAP, on the other hand, lost customers during this period and was practically on a par with 5.3 percent Oracle (5.2 percent) followed by Microsoft (3.7 percent) and Adobe (3.6 percent). The pithy promise of the former SAP boss Bill McDermott to “reinvent” the segment and to overtake the market leader within a few years does not sound particularly promising two years later. In the meantime, the US company is even worth more on the stock exchange than the Dax group.

However, with a turnover of around 50 billion dollars, the market is large and diverse with countless special disciplines – software for field workers, for example, is just as important as online marketing. In e-commerce, SAP has been one of the leading providers alongside Salesforce and Oracle since taking over the specialist Hybris. The company wants to strengthen this business with the takeover.

In addition, SAP plans to link the platform for customer communication with business software. The DAX group is the market leader in this segment, which experts call ERP. A company can use the order history of a customer for the advertising campaign and only offer products that are available in the right size.

“As soon as the transaction is complete, we want to enable our customers and their brands to seamlessly connect customer data with all other business data, including data from customer feedback,” explained SAP CEO Klein – the latter comes from the subsidiary Qualtrics, which SAP wants to bring back onto the stock exchange.

More: SAP extends home office rules for employees until mid-2021


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