Summary:

And we’re off to the races again as SAP buys hybris, a Swiss e-commerce specialist, to expand its reach into a $37 billion market.

SAP is goosing its push into what it deems a $37 billion e-commerce market by buying hybris, an e-commerce platform specialist.Terms of this deal were not disclosed but last year SAP dropped $4.3 billion to buy Ariba and its huge online marketplace; the year before that it acquired Crossgate, a specialist in business-to-business e-commerce.

SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott

” SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott

Hybris, based in Zug, Switzerland, offers technology that helps companies sell stuff or services to customers across multiple channels — brick-and-mortar stores, web sites, mobile etc. It claims an estimated $110 million in sales last year, up more than 50 percent over 2011.

An SAP spokesman likened Ariba and Crossgate to shopping malls and communities of buyers and sellers while hybris is more a foundation technology to allow companies to directly engage with their own customers. And, hybris claims some very big customer names: Costco, H&M, Ladbrokes.com, Grainger and Bridgestone.

As has become the norm with SAP, there will be big tie-ins with the company’s HANA in-memory database. According to the statement announcing the deal, SAP said:

“The combination of hybris’ commerce platform with the flagship in-memory platform SAP HANA, analytical and cloud applications, and the SAP Jam social software platform will give SAP a significant edge in delivering new levels of customer insight and engagement across all channels.”

Bill McDermott, co-CEO of SAP, said in a statement that “with hybris, SAP has made a decisive move to raise the stakes in customer relationship management and define the next-generation customer experience.”

Update: As IDG News reported, the hybris deal comes a few months after SAP launched 360 Customer, which combines its SAP’s CRM with the aforementioned HANA, Jam  offerings.

Gee, that sounds exactly like what SAP rivals Salesforce.com, Oracle and NetSuite are also trying to do. These dueling enterprise software giants are snapping up startups for e-commerce, marketing and related social networking wherewithal. Just yesterday, Salesforce.com said it’s buying Exact Target for $2.5 billion. In e-commerce, Oracle bought ATG for $1 billion several years ago and Eloqua for $879 million late last year. NetSuite bought OrderMotion  and announced a “Commerce-as-a-Service” push last month and boasts some large retail customers including Williams-Sonoma.

What this all means is that tech vendors that built their franchises on a single or small set of (albeit big important) products — databases in Oracle’s case; ERP systems for SAP; and CRM for Salesforce.com — see the need to gather in a wider set of users and own more of the applications those people depend on to run their businesses.

All these companies have cash and are more than ready to spend it. So stay tuned for more.

This story was updated at 11:33 a.m. PDT with more information about SAP’s 360 Customer launch.

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