Adobe recently announced its partnership with hybris. This deal has been a poorly kept secret as Adobe waited to make public announcements at its customer summit even after it has been out selling the joint solution and working with partners. Adobe is integrating the hybris commerce platform with  Adobe's Web Experience Management (WEM) solutions, an artist formerly known as Day CQ5. This is intended to add commerce capabilities to the CMS/CXM solution represented by WEM. Companies should consider a number of things when evaluating this product relationship between hybris and Adobe, including:

  • There is a lot of overlap in CMS capabilities; evaluate your real needs carefully. As with other leading enterprise commerce platforms, hybris has many WCM capabilities to support site management, merchandising, landing pages, etc. With Adobe’s WEM there will be many overlaps with the hybris capabilities. While the CQ5 product is a leading WCMS solution, notable benefits of Adobe’s WEM over hybris may be primarily limited to workflow and rich content repository. While growing in importance, these capabilities may go underutilized inside many eCommerce teams and multichannel solutions today. This same question will be important for companies evaluating Oracle's ATG, Endeca, and Fatwire solutions together, or other combinations of commerce platforms and WCMS or CXM solutions.
  • The heart of the value for Adobe customers will be product content management (PCM), not eCommerce. When Endeca was representing hybris in North America prior to the Oracle acquisition of Endeca, the key opportunity there was not in the hybris eCommerce solution, but rather in the hybris PCM solution. PCM is an evolution of product information management but oriented to the extended content and attribution products required in the global multichannel commerce environment companies are operating in today. Hybris’ solution, together with the likes of Stibo and Heiler, fill a critical content management need that WCMS solutions cannot meet. Expect the hybris PCM solution to support the Adobe WEM and CXM solutions well.
  • Adobe will need to prioritize commerce to get real traction. Let’s face it: selling commerce suites and platforms is a hassle. As a client of these solutions you make life hard, involving many stakeholders and involving many requirements that a solution vendor or service provider has to address to sell a solution. Lead times for that can be 3-5 months just to select and vet the solution. And this is how it should be, these are critical and strategic solutions for you. Will Adobe business development staff understand these needs, understand these new stakeholders and stick with a process that long? Will commerce be anything other than opportunistic for teams marketing and selling content, analytics, imaging, and optimization tools? Adobe says yes, we will have to see.

Where does this lead? Many clients have been asking me about hybris. After Oracle’s acquisition of ATG, Endeca, Fatwire, and RightNow* for many an obvious question is “what happens to hybris?” I do not want to propagate rumor or speculation (OK, maybe I do just a little bit . . . ), but an obvious outcome of the Adobe relationship could be an Adobe acquisition of hybris. Much will depend on Adobe’s success or failure at marketing a very different type of enterprise solution – one with significantly longer lead times than analytics, optimization, imaging, or arguably even content management. And based on Demandware’s recent IPO and current valuation – if Adobe is interested in buying hybris –  the price just went up.

 *The Oracle acquisitions are not necessarily in that order . . .  keeping track of Oracle’s acquisition sequence is an analyst’s parlor game.