Blue Martini Acquires Cybrant Corp.
Blue Martini Software, a B2B and B2C marketing and sales application vendor, has acquired Cybrant Corporation, which makes complex configuration and selling applications mainly for high-tech industries. The all-stock transaction, valued at $7 million, underpins Blue Martini's more recent push into the manufacturing sector.
Though Blue Martini has long been known as a retail specialist, the company launched a manufacturing practice 18 months ago, and now claims 30 clients in both retail and manufacturing. To the mix, Cybrant brings a complex product configuration engine, as well as pricing, guided selling and quoting.
Chip Overstreet, VP of marketing and business development at Blue Martini, says Cybrant will resonate in both vertical arenas. "Our go-to-market strategy is to take our suite of multi-channel CRM applications and really go deep in both retail and manufacturing. We're aiming to verticalize, especially at the engineering level."
Dave Murphy, VP of business development at Cybrant, sees the deal as a chance for Cybrant to expand as well. "Our underlying technology is a general purpose constraint engine," he says. "We've chosen to apply it mostly in configuration [for manufacturers], but we've also had some success ourselves in the retail market with guided selling solutions, which is the front end of making a decision even where the products aren't complex.
Blue Martini's manufacturing application set needed a lift that wasn't coming from partner deals, according to Rod Johnson, VP of customer management strategies at AMR Research. "I think they were at a point where they had to pull back or go after some of the more strategic pieces of the puzzle for manufacturing and pricing and configuration, which Cybrant offers is definitely one piece," says Johnson.
Configuration is sought after by manufacturers to better support their sales force in the field, by providing visibility into features and attributes over the Web. In that regard, Johnson says Cybrant brings better technology than many traditional players. "The biggest problem with configuration is the maintenance of complex data, [Cybrant's] architecture makes it pretty easy to administer." Cybrant also brings some high-tech customers to Blue Martini including Hewlett-Packard Legato and Xerox.
Overstreet says Blue Martini will remain focused on the Global 2000, where, from his perspective, the market is far from dried up. "[Vendors with] traditional CRM applications, call center and SFA, they are looking at new markets, but our scene is largely untapped," he says. "We are focused mainly on customer and partner-facing applications where a manufacturer or retailer wants to interact directly in a self-service model through a website."
Jim Ericson also writes for Line56.com