There’s a buying spree going on in the supply chain and logistics industry, as this week’s news roundup illustrates:
- Descartes Acquires Infodis
- QAD Acquires DynaSys S.A. Supply Chain Planning Solution Provider
- Echo Global Logistics, Inc. Acquires Purple Plum Logistics, LLC
- Oracle Buys Collective Intellect
- Salesforce.com Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Buddy Media
- Oracle Unveils Industry’s Broadest Cloud Strategy
- MercuryGate Forecasts 30% Revenue Growth in 2012
- INTTRA and SeaIntel Collaborate to Deliver First On-Time Performance and Schedule Reliability Index
- FedEx SupplyChain Enhances Technology for Critical, High Value Shipments; Expands to Key Growth Markets
- FedEx Freight to Increase Shipping Rates
Descartes announced that it acquired Infodis B.V., “a leading Netherlands-based provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) transportation management solutions,” for about $3.7 million cash. According to the press release:
Infodis provides a rich, functional transportation management network-based solution that handles specific European logistics requirements. The solution manages both inbound and outbound purchased transportation for more than 5 million shipments per year to and from Europe, with particular strength in Europe/Asia Pacific shipping.
Through the acquisition, more than 200 carriers in Europe and Asia, and some of the world’s leading high-tech companies, will be connected to Descartes’ Logistics Technology Platform…By making Infodis’ technology available on the Logistics Technology Platform, Descartes customers can access a broader range of European-focused transportation management capabilities as well as new functionality, such as CO2 emission calculations.
As I’ve commented before, software-as-a-service TMS is rapidly expanding globally, with vendors like MercuryGate and LeanLogistics establishing operations overseas, managed services providers like CH Robinson (which has its own SaaS TMS) setting up control towers in various geographies, and Descartes acquiring various network-based providers around the world. No doubt, the current buzz in the IT industry around “cloud computing” (which, depending on how you define cloud, includes SaaS) is serving as a catalyst for this global push.
Meanwhile, QAD announced that it has acquired France-based DynaSys S.A., a provider of supply chain planning software solutions, for about $7.5 million. DynaSys was founded in 1985 and most of its customers are in France and other European countries. You can read the press release for additional details, but here is an excerpt about its main solution:
DynaSys’ main solution, n.SKEP, is a fully integrated supply chain planning suite. n.SKEP has been built on a single coherent architecture featuring ‘single click collaborative®’ technology that provides the different players involved in the supply chain access to all decision elements in order to commit to a demand forecast plan. n.SKEP features a memory resident planning model with a common user interface metaphor across all functions; addresses planning related to demand, distribution, production, procurement and master planning; and supports a fully integrated ‘real time’ approach to sales and operations planning (S&OP). The memory resident architecture allows extremely high system performance and simulation for demand calculation for millions of items.
I am not familiar with this solution, so I can’t comment on how it compares to the competition. But I’m encouraged by n.SKEP’s memory resident architecture, which suggests the solution has kept pace with technological advances in the supply chain planning space. Also, as with the other acquisitions this week, this deal shows that the “bigger fish” in the enterprise software pond are hungry for “smaller fish” that can fill gaps in their solution footprint and/or help them expand into new geographies and vertical industries.
Oracle and Salesforce.com also announced acquisitions this week related to social media. Although not directly related to supply chain and logistics, I highlight these deals to show how enterprise software vendors are ramping up their investments to bring “social media” capabilities into their solution platforms. While most of these early investments are focused on marketing processes, it’s only a question of time before they start getting integrated into supply chain processes too…and address the “social media is too generic for supply chain use” problem that I discussed in my posting earlier this week (see “Why Companies Aren’t Using Social Media for Supply Chain Management” and some of the comments posted).
Finally, Oracle unveiled its cloud strategy this week, which Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison, summarized this way in the press release:
“Almost seven years of relentless engineering and innovation plus key strategic acquisitions. An investment of billions. We are now announcing the most comprehensive Cloud on the planet Earth. Most cloud vendors only have niche assets. They don’t have platforms to extend. Oracle is the only vendor that offers a complete suite of modern, socially-enabled applications, all based on a standards-based platform.”
You can read the press release for all the details. I don’t have the time or space to comment on this announcement today, but here are two quick observations: Oracle’s supply chain and logistics software solutions are not included in its “Oracle Cloud Application Services” offering, and integrating social media capabilities, via its “Oracle Cloud Social Services,” is part of the company’s cloud strategy.
Lots to think about in the coming days. In the meantime, have a great weekend and enjoy the pretty white clouds in your sky.
(Note: Descartes, Oracle, MercuryGate, LeanLogistics, and CH Robinson are ARC clients).