What next for SAP Business ByDesign?
For nearly two years, German ERP software giant SAP has been making noises about its new Cloud application, Business ByDesign. Rainer Zinow, the SAP vice president responsible for the product recently gave a progress report to BusinessCloud9.com editor Stuart Lauchlan.
The development of SAP's web-based Business ByDesign ERP system has become one of the computer industry’s great soap operas. When it launched in late 2007, SAP boasted the product would generate $1bn in revenue by 2010. By May last year, it announced a change in plan as it reduced its annual investment in the project by around €100m and lengthened its roll-out schedule by 12-18 months.
While rival Cloud application developers such as NetSuite’s Zach Nelson have sniped at SAP’s inability to compete in the new software market, SAP has been testing the application with a pool of 90 pilot customers in China, India, Europe and the US.
At a recent SAP event in London, Rainer Zinow, SAP's senior VP of Business ByDesign, gave a progress report on how the prototype application. While it continues to be burdened with major corporate expectations, wider promotion and sale said of BBD won’t happen until SAP’s early adopter programme has produced sufficient "referencing accounts" to confirm the program’s viability.
According to Zinow, the first test users are into the third wave of their implementations. The initial functionality catered for manufacturing businesses but service industry customers in Europe and the US had different priorities.
“From the point of view of the professional services provider customers, the key thing was to strengthen the integration between CRM and project management. We wanted be able to document a lead that someone gets at a trade show and convert it to an order, then be able to report back and do the billing, but all against the CRM order,” explained Zinow.
“We want the whole process to be as automated as possible. We want to have complete transparency both from the ordering perspective and to have tight integration between the CRM and the project management.”
Another area where the test user base has helped the company refine the application is in the environment it provides for senior executives to interact with the system.