IBM and SAP work together on artificial intelligence technology

Last week, IBM and SAP delivered news that the two IT firms are placing their respective Watson and Leonardo artificial intelligences (AI) at cognitive procurement solutions that redefine the source-to-settle process.
However, the announcement glossed over the fact that Big Blue already has a cloud procurement solution and is putting it aside. Well, sort of anyway.
IBM's solution is called Emptoris (from a company of the same name) and was reported to have come with a $600 million price tag when IBM acquired it six years ago.
To be sure, IBM acquired Emptoris to advance the Smarter Commerce play it ran a few years ago, in pursuit of what it described as a $20 billion market opportunity in software.
Big Blue may not have been able to cash in on that opportunity however, since we learned yesterday that Emptoris is being discontinued and that users will be encouraged to move to SAP's Ariba system.
A spokesperson said: “IBM continues to evolve its solutions portfolio based on the specific needs of its clients and various market directions.”
It's a very well known fact that the enterprise technology market moves quickly, perhaps too fast for Big Blue strategists, given that an acquisition from just 6 years ago has been deemed surplus to some requirements.
Emptoris is probably not the first application to be deemed 'unfit' for a necessary upgrade to catch it up to recent innovations.
But as things stand today, IBM has recently set itself up as being a cloud company and in six years has acquired and disposed of a SaaS asset.
The IT behemoth will now most likely steer its enterprise customers towards a rival's offering. However, considering that IBM has had several consecutive quarters of lower sales and profit, the IT firm will have to do more than that to win the hearts of its shareholders.


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