SAP Business ByDesign Coming to Market at Last?By Carolyn April | Print
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After two years of disappointing fits and starts, SAP is reportedly ready this year to take its fully cloud-based application suite to the general market.
It’s no secret that the giants of packaged enterprise applications—SAP, Oracle, etc.—got lapped by nimbler competitors in the race to take their business software to the cloud. Salesforce.com and Netsuite went to software-as-a-service right out of the gate, while SAP, in particular, has struggled to develop a credible version of its software for the new paradigm.
The situation looks to be changing, however, as 2010 could be the year that SAP gets into the race on a large scale. After two years of fits, starts and disappointments, Business ByDesign, the company’s full suite of enterprise applications rearchitected for the cloud, is expected to finally make its way to the general marketplace and into the hands of SAP’s midmarket channel partners.
There’s a long history here. SAP originally introduced Business ByDesign in limited distribution way back in late 2007. It was not well-received. So based on the early customer reviews, SAP pulled Business ByDesign back in-house to address integration and other architectural issues and to incorporate more support for newer technologies such as virtualization. The suite of services, which includes CRM, supply chain, BI and analytics, has been a work in progress ever since. Finally, late last year, the company put a pilot version of the SaaS suite, which is sold by partners on a subscription basis, into the hands of a limited number of channel partners.
Steve Neisman is one of those partners. His firm, Cincinnati-based itelligence, is one of the largest SAP reseller and consulting services firms in the world. It is piloting Business ByDesign now and plans to be one of the introductory partners when SAP goes to general availability with the SaaS offering later this year.
"This really is a completely different architecture and interface [than legacy SAP suites], and it’s built to address the need for a cloud offering," Neisman told Channel Insider.
Neisman explained that while SAP’s other midmarket application offerings, Business One and All-in-One (which separately began being offered in a subscription pricing model this week), were based off the code from SAP’s flagship R3 enterprise suite, Business ByDesign is a complete from scratch animal.
"We really see this appealing to the typical midmarket customer, in addition to large enterprises that want a Web-based solution for regional sales offices," he explained.
Neisman said SAP, historically a direct company, over the years has evolved its channel strategy in the right direction, hiring channel-savvy veteran executives such as Kevin Gilroy to manage SAP’s North American channel. He said SAP's also gained better perspective on the channel via the acquisition of Business Objects.
"They aren’t perfect yet, but there is more effective go-to-market, lead generation and delivery mechanisms," he said. "The cloud is a natural evolution of where software is moving, and I think it’s going to be a growth engine for SAP in 2010."
SAP has not provided a final release date for Business ByDesign, but Neisman says later this year.