The news dropped like a bomb: On the eve of Crossgate’s major annual event, SAP announced its acquisition of the B2B networking provider (see also “SAP to Acquire Crossgate”), which led to a sense of uncertainty among the attendees during registration the following morning. The subtle suffix “An Event Kindly Supported by SAP” had suddenly taken on a whole new meaning. However, seeing the relaxed demeanors of Crossgate CEO Stefan Tittel and Peter Maier, head of line-of-business solutions at SAP AG, was enough to dispel most concerns.
Tittel emphasized that the takeover was merely the natural progression of the two companies’ years of close partnership. SAP had, after all, been planning to purchase Crossgate for some time. Actual preparations were begun in April/May 2011. According to Maier, the benefits of the deal are clear: Instead of obtaining Crossgate’s interface for electronic invoicing after buying software from SAP, customers can now acquire their solutions from a single source. They will not experience any operational disruptions as a result of the takeover.
For users of SAP Business Suite, SAP Business All-in-One
Crossgate and SAP’s business relationship began back in 2006. Crossgate’s portfolio focuses on the core business of SAP Business Suite (particularly SAP ERP) and SAP Business All-in-One, and the company also offers interfaces for electronic accounting. These interfaces feed data directly into SAP ERP or SAP Invoice Management.
Meanwhile, Crossgate’s solutions include SAP Information Interchange by Crossgate and SAP E-Invoicing for Compliance by Crossgate. The latter generates electronic invoices and applies digital signatures to them before sending them in PDF format or through an EDI interface. With the ability to issue PDF invoices, Crossgate users can also incorporate smaller suppliers and other companies who don’t use SAP into their networks.
Crossgate’s overall product portfolio is designed to aid companies in transport management, logistics services, and shipping. Around 100 customers – hailing mainly from the automotive sector – use Crossgate.
Cloud-based solutions, too
Crossgate’s solution extension for e-invoicing is designed to support financial and invoicing processes. Users can connect it to other solutions, such as SAP Transportation Management.
The German supermarket chain EDEKA, for example, uses SAP E-Invoicing for Compliance by Crossgate in a cloud-based format, with Freudenberg-IT handling the necessary hosting. Any security concerns users might have should be put to rest by the security specifications which the solution meets in over 38 countries, as well as its special ITIL security certifications. Further, SAP and Crossgate have zero access to their customers’ internal business data.
At the fifth Crossgate Business Networking event, numerous customers were also able to share their views. For example, Johannes Schulte – IT project manager at Sirona AG, a manufacturer of dental treatment systems – reported on how his company processes more than 100,000 invoices electronically every year. Schulte described how Sirona’s major customers use an EDI interface, while smaller clients can access their invoices through a Web portal. The company’s system then generates digitally signed PDFs from the corresponding data records.
One of Crossgate’s larger customers is a familiar one: SAP itself, which has integrated SAP Information Interchange by Crossgate with E-Postbrief and connected it directly to SAP ERP.