SAP AG is expanding the e-commerce capabilities of its NetWeaver brand, with the acquisition of product management specialist A2i Inc, announced yesterday.
The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) giant will this fall incorporate A2i’s xCat suite, providing cross-industry product management, into the 2004 version of SAP NetWeaver, SAP Master Data Management (SAP MDM).
SAP said xCat’s Product Content Management (PCM) will provide high-performance search, intelligent image and document management. A2i PCM spans different sectors, including the manufacturing, retail and distribution industries.
SAP called the A2i acquisition a continuation of its NetWeaver middleware strategy, which would provide deeper access to richer data for a range of applications, including the ERP vendor’s emerging xApps.
The deal signifies a trend among large platform vendors and ISVs to snap up specialist PCM companies capable of demonstrating detailed knowledge of product management in their product’s features. IBM Corp and JDA Software Corp separately purchased PCM companies Trigo Technologies Inc and QRS Corp earlier this year.
Sunil Gupta, SAP director of business development for metadata management, said, purchase of A2i would help SAP more quickly deliver rich PCM capabilities and global data synchronization – a term applying to the consolidation and synchronization of data held in multiple financial, accounting and other business systems.
SAP believes A2i is different to competing PCM vendors, because it provides scalability and coverage of different vertical sectors. Many PCM products originated in the retail sector, where companies attempted to tie-up sales, marketing and partner information systems to assist sales and merchandizing.
Incoming SAP senior vice president, former A2i president, Paul Weinberg, commenting on PCM rivals, said: They are basically incomplete, turnkey applications targeted at verticals…. retail and consumer packaged goods are not the only verticals with these [PCM] requirements.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.