SAP’s acquisition of a majority stake at customer experience (CX) software firm Qualtrics back in 2018 for $8 billion was never a match made in heaven. Both companies remained incongruous to each other’s progress before Qualtrics was sold to Silver Lake and CPP Investments earlier this week, according to experts and analysts.

“Even though Qualtrics is still a market leader and a strong product, it just didn’t fit very well with SAP’s strategy,” said Hyoun Park, principal analyst at research firm Amalgam Insights. “SAP was struggling to integrate Qualtrics sales into its existing environment. It turns out that Qualtrics is not an easy solution to integrate into the standard SAP platform sale as the core Qualtrics audience is removed from the typical enterprise application platform buyers.”

Qualtrics’ integration into SAP became even more difficult post the pandemic, according to Omdia principal analyst Mila D’Antonio.

“Qualtrics is oriented from the contact center and is in a crowded market. I suspect many Qualtrics customers had non-SAP vendors already in place and weren’t interested in displacing them,” D’Antonio said.

Qualtrics and SAP were never a culture fit

SAP could have avoided acquiring Qualtrics back in 2018  for an $8 billion price tag despite the CX market showing signs of growth and opportunity since the two firms were never a natural fit, according to analysts.

“While there was no doubt that CX mattered tremendously, there were a lot of questions about why SAP needed to buy Qualtrics versus retain them as an ecosystem partner along with numerous other popular CX products customers might use,” said Liz Herbert, principal analyst at market research firm Forrester. “Likewise, Qualtrics’ ability to partner with SAP’s competitors became in jeopardy once they were part of SAP.”

The other issue, according to Constellation Research’s Principal Analyst Liz Miller, was that these firms were also not a “culture fit”.

“I think everyone could see that this was not a terrific cultural fit for either organization. This is especially true now that the senior leadership at Qualtrics has blended that ‘mountain cool’ vibe of their founding culture with a new business focus enabled by leaders who spend decades at Microsoft,” Miller said.  

SAP to focus on its core products

SAP’s decision to sell the entirety of its stake in Qualtrics is a result of the company’s strategy pivot to focus on its core offerings, mainly S/4HANA.

“The new criticality for SAP is more focused on harnessing the data that the organization is already capable of aggregating and better connecting that ‘back office’ data from systems like ERP to those ‘front line’ technology tools across sales, service, marketing and commerce,” said Miller.

Qualtrics, according to Herbert, “presented a distraction” for SAP. “The acquisition of Qualtrics presented a distraction from SAP’s multi-billion-euro ERP business which was in the early days of a major shift from the old ECC product to the new S/4HANA product at that time,” Herbert said.

For SAP, Qualtrics was not the only acquisition in the CX space. It has also acquired other CX firms over the past few years, including Emarsys, Gigya, and Callidus. The company is now expected to focus more on these businesses as part of its CX products strategy, according to analysts.

“The sell-off of Qualtrics will allow SAP to focus on innovating Emarsys and its broader CX portfolio and integrating those systems with SAP’s enterprise resource planning,” D’Antonio said. “Such focus would indicate a go-to-market strategy aimed at sales, marketing, and ecommerce, rather than the contact center.”

What does the stake sale mean for CIOs and enterprises?

SAP’s stake sale in Qualtrics is more likely to usher in more innovative CX products in the company’s portfolio and have less to no impact on CIOs or enterprises, analysts said.

“The Qualtrics operation was largely separate from SAP, anyways. If anything, this acquisition should help accelerate Qualtrics product innovation again as now there is no parent company with a conflicting vision against Qualtrics’ role as a surveying, interaction, and experience data collection solution,” said Park.

CIOs are unlikely to feel much effect, according to Bob Parker, senior vice president at market research firm IDC. 

“Post the ownership change, it should be easier for CIOs to integrate the survey tools across the experience related applications (customer, employee, and product) they have in their portfolio along with analytic capabilities that are specific to experience management such as complex conjoint analysis,” Parker said.

However, heavy Qualtrics users are likely to see an increase in connections, APIs and ecosystem partner integrations as the company actively builds out its marketplace and ecosystem beyond SAP, Constellation Research’s Miller said.

What does the new deal mean for Qualtrics?

SAP’s stake sale in Qualtrics comes at the right time for both organizations as they can double down on their core products while leveraging the connections they forged during their time together, analysts said.

“The leadership doesn’t see any change for Qualtrics’ strategy as a result of the acquisition. In fact, they are more focused on their core growth with the XM (experience management) platform by offering a unified strategy across customer support, customer success, and scaling go-to-market through a partner-first strategy,” said Sudhir Rajagopal, research director at IDC.

In addition, CX remains a critical investment area for companies across industries and this should be a growth opportunity for Qualtrics post SAP’s divestiture, according to analysts.  

“Based on the customers I spoke with, there are still a lot of them who still only use their survey functionality, there is a great amount of growth still to unlock in their current customer base,” said Lou Reinemann, research director at IDC. 

Qualtrics has room to expand its data usage to support machine learning and contextual analytics use cases, Park said. The company is already working towards adding machine learning and AI-powered tools to its product portfolio.

Last week, Qualtrics unveiled Frontline Care — an omnichannel analytics and AI-powered tool, designed to aid customer-facing employees understand customers’ needs and actions along their journeys and respond proactively.

“This is notable, as enabling deep, real-time customer insights is the key to solving the omnichannel dilemma and improving CX,” Omdia’s D’Antonio said.

Mergers and Acquisitions, Oracle

IT analyst firm GigaOm is quick to point out that primary data is the first point of impact for ransomware attacks. This fact puts primary storage in the spotlight for every CIO to see, and it highlights how important ransomware protection is in an enterprise storage solution. When GigaOm released their “GigaOm Sonar Report for Block-based Primary Storage Ransomware Protection” recently, a clear leader emerged.

GigaOm named Infinidat as the industry leader in ransomware protection for block-based storage. Infinidat is a leading provider of enterprise storage solutions. According to GigaOm’s independent analysis, Infinidat distinguishes itself for its modern, software-defined storage architecture, securing enterprise storage with a strategic, long-term approach, broad and deep functionality, and high quality of innovation.

One of the top CMOs in the tech industry, Eric Herzog, is leading the marketing charge at Infinidat and had this to say about this recognition from GigaOm:

“Infinidat has taken the benefits of ransomware protection on enterprise block storage to the next level, including guaranteed immutable snapshot recovery in one minute or less, greater ease of use, and comprehensive cyber resilience.”

“Being recognized as the industry leader for combatting ransomware not only gives us enormous forward momentum as a solution provider of cyber storage resilience and modern data protection, but it also gives Infinidat a seat at the table to talk to large enterprises and service providers about what we can do to eliminate the threat of ransomware for them,” he added.

The GigaOm Sonar Report showcases the strength of Infinidat’s novel InfiniSafe cyber resilience technology embedded across all its platforms: InfiniBox®, InfiniBox™ SSA and InfiniGuard®. The report states:

“Infinidat offers a complete and balanced ransomware protection solution. InfiniSafe brings together the key foundational requirements essential for delivering comprehensive cyber-recovery capabilities with immutable snapshots, logical air-gapped protection, a fenced forensic network, and near-instantaneous recovery of backups of any repository size.”

Infinidat has delivered the industry’s first cyber storage guarantee for recovery on primary storage – the InfiniSafe® Cyber Storage guarantee.

The company recently extended cyber resilience to its InfiniBox and InfiniBox SSA II enterprise storage platforms with the InfiniSafe Reference Architecture, allowing Infinidat to provide its immutability snapshot guarantee and the recovery time of immutable snapshots at one minute or less. InfiniSafe was announced on the InfiniGuard modern data protection and cyber storage resilience platform in February this year.

The GigaOm Sonar Report recognizes the features and functionality of Infinidat’s cyber resilience technology: “InfiniGuard delivers solid cybersecurity features at no extra cost, allowing customers to quickly and securely restore data, even at scale, in case of an attack.”

Through near instantaneous cyber recovery, Infinidat helps organizations avoid having to pay the ransom, yet still retrieve their valuable enterprise data, uncompromised and intact. Think about how significant this really is, given how much of a threat ransomware is.

When ransomware takes data hostage, it can destroy backup copies of data, steal credentials, leak stolen information, and worse. It has caused businesses of all sizes to shut down operations overnight, so it is not unusual for a company to pay a large sum of money to restore their business. Infinidat’s solutions can put a stop to it.

It is an honor that GigaOm has recognized the technology leadership. The analyst community has been spot-on about how enterprises and service providers should strategize to not just take “baby steps” but actually take a quantum leap forward to address these cyberattacks.

In addition, GigaOm recognized Infinidat as a “Fast Mover,” one of only two vendors awarded that accolade. “Fast Movers” are expected to deliver on their solutions and technologies faster and with more features/functionality than other vendors known as “Forward Movers.” Infinidat has been rapidly delivering new technology, several guarantees, and new capabilities over the past 18 months, including the extension of new features and functions to InfiniSafe.

Max Mortillaro, Analyst at GigaOm, shared his perspective: “Primary data is the first point of impact for ransomware attacks, so it is critical for organizations to implement primary storage solutions that incorporate ransomware protection, such as Infinidat’s cyber resilience solutions.”

He went on to say, “Our new GigaOm Sonar Report on ransomware protection for block storage comes at a time when ransomware attacks have become so prevalent and such a persistent threat for all organizations across all industries. We have seen through our analysis how ransomware can cause significant damage to companies and government agencies.”

The time is right for Infinidat to step forward as a recognized industry leader for ransomware protection.

To download the full analyst report, click here.

To read more about Infinidat’s cyber resilience solutions, click here.


Accenture on Wednesday said that it was acquiring US-based supply chain management (SCM) software provider Inspirage for an undisclosed amount to expand its Oracle-focused business.

Inspirage will move its 710 employees to the Accenture Oracle Business Group in order to bolster its supply chain management skills and expand its ability to help product-centric clients create interconnected, intelligent and innovative supply chain networks, the companies said in a joint statement.

The Accenture Oracle Business Group helps enterprises implement Oracle technologies such as the Oracle Autonomous Cloud, the human capital management (HCM) suite, the customer experience (CX) suite, and its ERP cloud.  

Currently, Inspirage serves clients in high-growth microverticals within the high-tech, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer goods, retail, and oil and gas industries.

Accenture on an acquisition spree

Accenture, which has been an Oracle partner for more than 30 years, has been on an acquisition spree to expand its Oracle business over the last few years.

In May 2018, Accenture completed the acquisition of UK-based Certus solutions to boost its capabilities to help enterprises move to Oracle cloud, specifically in the health and public sectors. In October 2018, it acquired DAZ systems along with its 300 employees to bolster its Oracle Cloud ERP services business.

In 2021, Accenture acquired Canadian Oracle Cloud Partner, Cloudworks—a startup with 100 employees—to focus on delivering Oracle systems to its customers.

Last week, the company acquired US-based MacGregor Partners. MacGregor is a supply chain consultancy and technology provider specializing in intelligent logistics and warehouse management, and is expected to expand Accenture’s supply chain network and fulfillment transformation capabilities, which is powered by Blue Yonder technology, the company said in a statement.

Supply chain issues dominate industry sectors

The supply chain software market has been gaining importance and momentum as challenges around the pandemic and geopolitical tensions have disrupted logistics for most industry sectors.

In a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of KPMG after the pandemic hit in 2020, about 80% of respondents claimed that making operations and supply chain processes more responsive to change was their biggest digital transformation priority.  

A report from electronic components and semiconductor distributor, Avnet Silica, showed that issues around supply chain, often driven by semiconductor shortages, remain the top concern for most industry sectors despite talk of the pandemic slowing down.

The report, which is based on a study conducted by Avnet consultants after reviewing 30,111 earnings call across different sectors between January 2018 and April 2022, points out that supply chain issues occupied more than 60% of airtime in earnings calls across all industries in 2022, compared to just 47% and 37% in 2021 and 2020, respectively.

All these factors combined have resulted in interest from cloud software providers to digitize supply chain operations for enterprises. A report from Allied Market Research showed that the global digital supply chain market is expected to reach $13.67 billion by 2030 from $3.91 billion in 2020.

Oracle continues push for Fusion applications

Meanwhile, Accenture’s acquisition of Inspirage to bolster its Oracle business comes at a time when Oracle is continuing to invest in expanding its cloud services to play catch up with rivals such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft.

Oracle’s Fusion Cloud applications and NetSuite sales have been growing at a steady pace, with CEO Safra Catz saying that these two cloud products accounted for major part of the growth in the last few quarters.

In the fourth quarter that ended in June 2022, Fusion ERP Cloud revenue was up 23% in constant currency terms, with NetSuite ERP cloud revenue showing an increase of 30% in constant currency terms.

In the previous quarter, the products showed an increase in revenue of 35% and 29% (in constant currency) respectively.

Mergers and Acquisitions, Supply Chain Management Software, Technology Industry

A pro-Beijing online propaganda campaign has used phony websites and social-media postings to try to discredit a prominent German anthropologist who has investigated China’s crackdown on Muslims, according to cybersecurity researchers.

To help meet demand from enterprises that are shifting asset management methods from legacy applications to cloud-based technology,  ERP provider IFS has signed an agreement to acquire Netherlands-based enterprise asset management (EAM) software firm Ultimo.

IFS, which is based in Sweden and has customers globally, says that it is acquiring Ultimo because it believes that the company’s SaaS offering can provide high levels of flexibility and configurability for customers.

EAM can be considered a subset of ERP software, providing tools and applications to manage the lifecycle of physical assets in an enterprise, in order to maximize their value.

IFS’ acquisition comes at a time when the EAM market is growing due to the move to cloud architecture, growing demand for an enterprisewide view of assets for strategic planning, and increasing deployment of IoT platforms and devices.

The global EAM market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% to reach $5.5 billion by 2026, from $3.3 billion in 2020, according to market research firm MarketsandMarkets.

IFS, which expects the acquisition to close in the third quarter of 2022, plans to use Ultimo’s software in conjunction with its own cloud-based EAM offering. Ultimo focuses on providing EAM to midsize companies in manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, infrastructure and utilities.

After refreshing its ERP suite every three years since 2012, IFS last year switched to a six-month refresh cycle to ensure that customers always have access to its latest features.

Market research firm Gartner, in its Market Share: Enterprise Resource Planning Worldwide 2021 report, positioned IFS at the top of EAM vendors in terms of revenue, with 18% market share, after sales grew 29.1% year-on-year. The Ultimo acquisition should help IFS compete in the EAM market with vendors including IBM, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle.

Ultimo, which was founded in 1988, has 180 employees with more than 2,000 customers including London Gatwick Airport, BASF, VTTI, Ravago, Vion Food Group, Argent Energy, and Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam

Enterprise Applications, ERP Systems