SAP hybris introduced hybris-as-a-service (YaaS) as a commerce platform based on microservices at its Global Customer Days and Partner Summit in February. It was the talk of the conference, according to reports. (We'll spare you the tweets claiming "The answer is Yaas.")

Acquia is now joining the conversation.

The Boston-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company, which provides products, services and support for open-source web content management platform Drupal, and hybris, the Munich-based e-commerce solutions provider under the SAP hood, partnered today. The goal: to help brands “deliver contextually relevant digital experiences via the cloud.” 

Acquia and hybris, which SAP acquired in 2013 to strengthen its position in the e-commerce space, contend companies are moving away from legacy “software as a product” that include “inflexible delivery models.” 

The partnership will produce an alternative, officials promised: “cloud-based microservices” that help organizations produce digital experiences as easily as downloading apps to a smartphone.

What Does it Do?

Stefan Schmidt, vice president of commerce and cloud strategy for hybris and SAP customer engagement and commerce, told CMSWire that YaaS gives developers an independent and open platform and helps organizations manage software complexity.

Stefan Schmidt, hybris

YaaS is based on a multi-tenant model with infrastructure based upon Cloud Foundry, the open source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that provides a choice of clouds, frameworks and application services. It also uses Apache Kafka (a high throughput distributed messaging system), apigee, RAML and others.

Officials at hybris said they have “democratized” the enterprise software market because independent developers can sell their solutions directly to organizations alongside established service providers.

Enter Acquia

How does Acquia fit in? Organizations want to control how they configure their systems, and developers want an open platform to distribute their solutions.

“In Acquia,” Schmidt said, “we’ve found a partner that has built its business on this philosophy while helping brands engage consumers more deeply through content, community and commerce.”

YaaS’ micro-service architecture allows for the development of an ecosystem of SaaS applications and services. Through this, hybris and Acquia will provide digital experiences that “unify content, community and commerce.”

'Gutsy' Move

Ray Grady, senior vice president of commerce solutions at Acquia, called hybris’ move to YaaS “gutsy.”

ray grady, acquia

They “created an entirely new business model and entirely new product,” he said. “Oftentimes you’ll see traditional software companies say we’re going to take our perpetual license and we’re going to host it with Rackspace and now we’re a cloud provider. They’ll go to their customers and say they have a cloud offering.”

Hybris and Acquia, however, see customers wanting choice and flexibility. They want an open system to leverage, whether it’s proprietary solutions or third-party solutions.

“What hybris has done from a microservices standpoint is basically break up a product into 31 pieces and tell customers to keep what they like and leverage what they have and do it at a global scale,” Grady said. “We see this as where the industry is going, and the industry leader is going this way. We think it’s going to have a massive impact on the market.”

Partnerships Established

In April, hybris partnered with enterprise social provider Sprinklr to bring social experiences together with e-commerce, sales, customer service and marketing. The partnership aimed to crack the problem of customer data sitting in silos and bringing together data from sources like CRM, historical transactions and web browsing in a multi-channel world.

Some compare YaaS to Salesforce’s, a suite of point-and-click tools that allow organizations to create custom employee-facing apps.

“Truthfully, a threat to from SAP would be a pretty big change in the ‘Cloud Platform wars’ and would require a very widespread use of YaaS and similar architectures in SAP’s various cloud assets,” Richard Hirsch, a ServiceNow Business Analyst/Architect at Atos and SAP mentor wrote of YaaS. “How realistic is this transformation? Cutting edge architectures -- such as YaaS -- often move slowly into larger organizations/vendors that have other entrenched technologies. How fast can SAP move towards implementing YaaS-like architectures and engaging internal developers to use such tools?”