Given the recent release of the latest version of SAP’s ByDesign product, I wanted to revisit a conversation I had with the SAP folks back at the initial ByD launch. In terms of this particular release, Dennis Howlett has a good roundup post pointing out some thoughts, in particular the high cost of implementation for ERP and PSP modules.

In terms of a more general discussion on ByD however, below is a Q&A I had a little while ago. All in all ByD is a signifcant improvement and feels like a real cloud product in features and execution. Questions remain however about SAP’s ability to speak to the needs of a more agile marketplace, and whether they can gain on-demand scale in the fact of the very aggressive earlier entrant NetSuite.

Q. Customization seems to be just via options – what is the timescale (if there are plans) for a true platform upon which developers can build vertical specific options

A. Timing here is end of 2010/early 2011 where we will provide a development platform which will allow our partners to develop anything; vertical specific options to full vertical solutions. We are currently exploring this with some selected partners in Germany and the US to gather their feedback on quality/performance of this development platform, but will launch it with product version FP 2.6 with the timing mentioned. With version FP 2.5 (to be launched end of July 2010) we already provide greater flexibility to customers/partners to adapt user interface, business configuration, reports and forms to better meet their individual needs.

NB – Version 25 sees the release of the SAP SDK, but, as Dennis points out, with only 100 customers so far there’s not much icentive for developers to jump into this

Q. Pricing is at a margin to some similar competitors – any comments on where the points of differentiation will lie?

A. BYD comes at a price of €133/$149 per user/months for a standard user.  At SAPPHIRE however, we announced that we are opening BYD up towards smaller user numbers, so it is already available for a minimum of 10 users. In addition, we offer starter packages. With these packages, customers can get started quickly with a key functionality (e.g. customer management offered in a pre-configured package with streamlined deployment). These packages are meant as an easy access to the full suite eventually. That said, differentiation is not meant to come through pricing but more through the fact that we offer an integrated, complete suite for a midsize company to manage their entire operations and to which partners will create additional functionality/vertical solutions.

Points well made but, as Dennis points out, ByD is still a very expensive implementation exercise

Q. There is something of a disconnect with ByD sitting between two on-prem products in the SAP lineup and comment on how this will be messaged to the marketplace

A. Not sure I’m seeing a disconnect here. We offer a portfolio to small businesses and midsize companies as we cannot meet every demand with just one solution. Not every company wants a pure on-demand solution in the SME space, which is why we are offering choice. However, every customer wants faster implementations, less risk, lower costs,  higher usability – and this we are offering across our portfolio of  SAP Business One, on-premise solution for companies with 10 to 100 employees, BYD from 50 – 500 employees and SAP Business All-in-One (on-premise) from 100 to 2,500 employees.

Therefore companies interested in SAP Business One can for example get the on-premise core (which is what many of them demand) and add an on-demand CRM solution or e-shop to it which is developed by our partners. Hence companies get the advantage of a hybrid environment.

Also for SAP Business All-in-One we are providing plenty of options for customers to chose from. While SAP Business All-in-One is based on the suite technology and thus very rich in functionality, we offer it based on a Best Practices approach which ensures a high level of pre-configuration which makes the solution easy-to-use and fast to implement. A while ago we introduced the SAP Business All-in-One fast start program for the three industries manufacturing, professional services and wholesale. This program further shortens implementation times and increases transparency, as interested companies can calculate the price and the modules they need (including hardware, implementation and maintenance) online – without even having to get in touch with SAP  – and when they implement all components (hardware, operating system, software) are optimized and implemented according to a given methodology by partners which speeds up the process. This allows an even faster ROI. In addition, customers can chose which hardware they want to go with.  They even chose pricing and deployment options. Because based on the SAP Business All-in-One fast-start program we now offer the solution hosted by our partners with a subscription based pricing. 

 

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

Leave a Reply