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SAP Business ByDesign ready to roll

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26th May 2010
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It's like waiting for a bus. You wait for ages, then two come along at once. At its Sapphire user conference in Orlando, Florida last week SAP announced that Business ByDesign, its long-delayed Cloud ERP suite is “currently available”. But then executives revealed that a better version would be coming in a matter of months.

Business ByDesign has been something of an albatross for SAP ever since then CEO Hasso Plattner promised in 2008 that it would be raking in $1bn in revenue from 10,000 customers by this year. In reality, it managed to recruit 100 early triallists, but from July the ERP suite will be available in Germany, the US, the UK, France, China and India.

With a new management team in place, the German software giant is ready to prove that it can take on the new wave of Cloud software.

 “[Business ByDesign] is not a fantasy,” said SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe. “It's a real product. We wanted to perfect the infrastructure. You only get one chance.”
 
Snabe was careful not to repeat the brash predictions that had proved to be such an embarrassment for Business ByDesign and said it was too early to provide numbers regarding future customer growth.
 
The beefed-up summer release - version 2.5 of Business ByDesign- will include a multi-tenancy option and include “in-memory analytics” that can be accessed using Microsoft Excel. It will also support mobile devices and Microsoft's Silverlight technology.

A developer’s toolkit in version 2.5 will pave the way for third party developers to add software around the Business ByDesign core, according to Doug Merritt, SAP’s executive vice president for on-demand solutions.
 
SAP will also incorporate social collaboration tools into the software. Drawing lessons from Salesforce.com’s Chatter project, Business ByDesign will include a new Sales On Demand module with a “very Facebook-like” feel, according to John Wookey, SAP executive vice president of large enterprise on demand. “The collaboration space is not a trendy thing. This is really opening up IT in a different way,” said Wookey.

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Chris Challis
By challisc
27th May 2010 10:42

Multi-tenancy

Talking to the technical director of a SAP Business ByDesign (BYD) reseller yesterday, I understand that general business functionality will be little changed in the new release, expected around August. The new release is primarily a "technical" release, including the new features mentioned.

In the current release, each customer has their own physical server. The new release includes a multi-tenancy option whereby each customer is separate [corrected, see subsequent comments], with the option to  incorporate multiple companies within. This is different from the shared database approaches adopted by many SaaS players in accounting and other applications.

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Dennis Howlett
By dahowlett
27th May 2010 14:48

Misinformed

@challisc: I'm afraid you have this wrong and either you've been misinformed or misunderstood what was said.

As of the July 2.5 release: each customer is a tenant with isolated data even within a dedicated DB schema. Each employee logs on to this dedicated tenant, gets assigned to a dispatcher and work process for the application server layer. That then connects to the central database instance/process. Otherwise it would not be multi-tenancy, as sharing of resources would not be possible. There is no 1:1 relationship between a customer and an assocaited database instance/process. Customers that do not want to participate in a multi-tenant environment can operate within their own walled garden but that's not new to SAP. That will have an end user cost implication, depending on the size of the organization.

For the purposes of scaling, each blade can hold 250 users (i.e. 10 low end customers at the 25-user benchmark) That number is set to double in the next 2 months or less. I expect to see further scaling economies achieved over time as SAP rolls out more of its 'HassoDB' in-memory technology into the BYD environment. 

How do I know this? Because I've been having ongoing discussions with the technical architects at SAP since September 2007 when the product was first released to much dismay. Our last discussion was last Thursday and I expect further discussions in early course.

As an aside, these issues are why accurate due diligence is essential to a comparative understanding.

 

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Chris Challis
By challisc
27th May 2010 15:42

Useful clarification

Thanks Dennis. A useful insight.

The distinction between the application server layer and the central database instance/process was not mentioned that I can remember, as we hadn't yet talked at that depth. Presumably this means that the new multi-tenancy system is not as well "walled" as I first thought. But as you say the current completely walled approach will, I understand, continue to be available at a higher fee.

You’re right. It's certainly worth digging a bit deeper on these SaaS systems to find out what's really going on!

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Dennis Howlett
By dahowlett
30th May 2010 02:37

If you need

...access to the people who develop then I can likely help you there. Contact me privately.

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avatar
By ian_gilfillan
04th Jun 2010 00:11

mmm!

******************

 

Ian

 

OK, forget what I said above as I had not read the entire thread, Due Dilligence is important and if either of you wish to have a discussion about a New system we are launching which unfortuantely/fortuantely does a lot of what the SAP product does then please feel free to contact me.

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