SAP's Acquisition Of Crossgate Is About Control, Not Functionality

SAP's recent acquisition of Crossgate does not mark a significant change in either vendor's level of B2B functionality. It is strictly a matter of SAP exerting control over an increasingly important deployment channel (SaaS-based B2B document exchange). SAP and Crossgate first entered into a partnership in 2007, and the two parties have gradually worked to integrate their respective offerings since that time.

However, this is not the only opportunity that SAP customers have to support their electronic document exchange needs. Seeburger has provided (directly and indirectly) effective B2B alternatives for SAP customers for more than twenty years, and we do not expect this to change. GXS and Sterling Commerce (IBM) also support managed services document exchange for many SAP customers (similar to those of Crossgate). And finally, a growing number of integration providers offer direct B2B document exchange capability based on the AS1/AS2/AS3 protocols.

So this announcement is about "more of the same" than anything else.


Completing ERP

I like your description of "deployment model" and noting its "increasing importance" evidenced in this case by SAP's actions. By leveraging a B2B cloud with pre-wired connections and built-in expertise, there is measurable customer time-to-value and speed-to-revenue in ERP deployments / upgrades / consolidations / etc. Longer-term, as Enterprise IT architectures become more outward-facing, the benefits from B2B networks will shift to process insight, control and essence completing the visions that so many companies had originially expected from their ERP.