B2B Integration in the Cloud: Liaison Buys Hubspan

Loraine Lawson

Liaison acquired Hubspan a few weeks ago, and here’s why that’s interesting: It consolidates two B2B integration companies whose work is based in the cloud.

Together, they’re the largest cloud-based integration brokerage, according to a recent Sand Hill article.

Both vendors ranked in Gartner’s 2011 report, “Who's Who in Cloud Services Brokerage,” according to a recent post by Gartner analyst Benoit Lheureux, whose research focuses on B2B e-commerce.

Lheureux saw this as Liaison “doubling-down on cloud.” He also noted that it was one of four acquisitions in the B2B space this year, making this a third-wave acquisition in the B2B space over recent years.

Lheureux characterized the acquisition as “symbiotic” because both companies are cloud-based and specialize in B2B projects that require customization, making a lot of their work more service-focused than product-focused. Gartner considers both to be cloud service brokerages, but also “iPaaS” — integration platform as a service — vendors.

I’ve spoken with representatives from both companies. Hubspan in particular stands out in my mind because I think I have interviewed Hubspan’s previous director of marketing and product management, Margaret Dawson, every year since I began covering integration — I remember primarily because she’s was one of the few females I’ve interviewed in a tech VP position.

Dawson moved on, so this year I spoke with the equally pleasant Hubspan CEO and President Trisha Gross, who shared that Hubspan recorded nearly a 100 percent increase in channel-enabled sales and 41 percent growth in new customer acquisition in 2011.

Hubspan’s expansion focused primarily on expanding by bundling integration with channel partners such as NetSuite, Visa, CNET, Exostar and Ariba. The press release and Sand Hill’s recent interview with Gross indicate that strategy, along with “marquee customers in multiple key industries,” played a key role in the acquisition.

I last spoke with Liaison about its intriguing approach to data mapping. The company uses artificial intelligence technology to map data in B2B projects. Since Liaison says mapping can account for up to 40 percent or more of B2B integration costs, that’s no small issue for these projects.


Together, the companies will offer cloud-based solutions for B2B, application integration, managed file transfer (MFT), master data management (MDM), data management and data security

In addition to Liaison’s acquisition, Lheureux lists three other key B2B deals this year:

  • SPS acquires Edifice.
  • SAP acquires Ariba.
  • E2open has an IPO on NASDAQ, making it the second B2B IPO in recent history.


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