Axway and Atos Origin have announced an alliance to jointly offer outsourced business-to-business integration services. The deal has potential, but will require staff retraining and greater focus outside Europe.
On 14 January 2008, Axway and Atos Origin announced an alliance to offer integration as a service (IaaS) and business-to-business (B2B) project outsourcing. The alliance is effective immediately.
This event follows a related multienterprise infrastructure announcement from SAP and crossgate (see “Crossgate Challenges B2B Market With Tight Alliance With SAP” ). The two events highlight the emerging importance of B2B project outsourcing as an option for companies that need to implement more multienterprise integration projects, but don’t necessarily wish to do the projects themselves.
Axway can now offer B2B services through Atos Origin in addition to selling B2B software, thereby more flexibly addressing the needs of customers performing multienterprise integration. Atos Origin offers B2B project outsourcing and leverages Axway’s Synchrony to deploy these projects via IaaS, a software-as-a-service delivery model for B2B integration. This alliance is worldwide in scope, but its sales focus is on European countries where Atos Origin has strength — France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and the U.K. Axway and Atos Origin have generally characterized their offering as “software as a service,” but it is really B2B project outsourcing that uses IaaS to achieve economies of scale.
This alliance between a global B2B vendor and an international system integrator has the potential to drive maturity in the B2B infrastructure market if executed well. It also gives European organizations with international multienterprise projects a viable alternative to offerings from IT providers such as GXS, Inovis, crossgate and Sterling Commerce.
But there are several challenges:
Atos Origin is in the middle of a radical restructuring plan, which includes several divestitures. The divestitures generally correspond to unprofitable business units, but the restructuring raises concerns as to whether Atos Origin will retain enough resources to sell and deliver this offering.
The declared focus of this deal — IaaS — will provide Atos Origin with internal economies of scale but not necessarily position it to compete with established providers of IaaS. This is because Atos Origin's traditional customers are likely more interested in B2B project outsourcing.
Axway will have to train its sales staff, who are used to selling software and project services, to also sell B2B infrastructure services .
Axway’s immediate requirement for B2B services fulfillment in the U.S. is not addressed directly, as Atos Origin has limited U.S. coverage.
Consider Axway/Atos Origin for B2B project outsourcing in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and the U.K., but be prepared for the customary difficulties associated with any new partnership.
"The Status of B2B in Europe, 2H07" — This document examines how the economic forces affecting European users and multienterprise, B2B infrastructure vendors have worldwide implications for multienterprise projects. By Paolo Malinverno
“ Taxonomy and Definitions for the Multienterprise/B2B Infrastructure Market” — This taxonomy defines each of the subcategories of multienterprise/B2B infrastructure software and services and provides examples of relevant IT providers. By Benoit Lheureux and others
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