SAP's Digital Marketing Solution? Resell Adobe Marketing Cloud

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SAP cloudsFor anyone wondering what SAP AG is up to these days in digital marketing, an answer was provided at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City.

SAP has a global partnership with Adobe to resell the latter’s Marketing Cloud along with SAP’s HANA platform and its hybris Commerce Suite. Read the release.

Let’s back up a little and look at what this means. SAP’s expansion into digital marketing from its roots as a supply-chain technology specialist is still a work in progress; unlike Adobe, Salesforce.com and Oracle, SAP hasn’t really articulated its vision around a marketing tech stack.

As Ovum senior analyst Gerry Brown wrote in a prepared statement, “This alliance fills this gap in SAP’s solutions portfolio, and significantly augments the completeness of SAP’s overall digital offer.”

What does SAP have to offer in terms of digital marketing? In a December interview with AdExchanger, SAP Global VP of Precision Marketing Hervé Pluche said the company “meets the needs of our clients long-term ... around scalability and big data.”

Certainly technologies like HANA, the heavy-duty data-management system powering SAP applications that will be packaged with the vendor’s Adobe Marketing Cloud resell, bear this out. HANA essentially presents the ability to process numerous data computations quickly, and while it’s traditionally been used for applications around financial forecasting, it can now power marketing decisions through Adobe Marketing Cloud.

SAP’s value proposition – back from its days as a provider of supply-chain technologies – is its ability to configure and automate complex processes. This could be of value as Adobe updates its Cloud to better handle increasingly convoluted scenarios due to the explosion of online communication channels.

Additionally, Brown pointed out in his statement that SAP customers can combine data housed in its ERP and CRM systems with Adobe Marketing Cloud – essentially this would provide even more information to Adobe’s new core feature Master Marketing Profile, which consolidates all customer information into a single view.

Adobe, for its part, gets access to SAP customers as well as the chance to fill in a hole in its Marketing Cloud portfolio: ecommerce. While Adobe has some ecommerce capabilities through CQ (now a part of its Marketing Cloud Experience Manager solution), it’s not considered a core strength. Instead, it integrated with hybris – owned by SAP since August.

For a while, it was unclear whether SAP’s acquisition of hybris might change the nature of the ecommerce solution’s relationship with Adobe. Now, we have a definitive answer: The partnership will continue.

This is good news for Adobe, because while Adobe’s Marketing Cloud stack has many crucial pieces – Web analytics, tag management, a data-management platform – it really didn’t have the same strength in ecommerce as competitors like IBM and Oracle.

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