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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. 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.

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4 responses to “SAP Business ByDesign – Will They Build It and Will They Come?”

  1. David Terrar

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for the mention, and I agree with what you say here. I’ve thought all along that SAP should have put Business ByDesign in to an entirely separate business unit to be really successful. The cultural difference between developing, selling and supporting a SaaS offering and VERY traditional software like standard SAP is so great, I can’t see how it will flourish within the current business. I asked this question of Henning Kagermann directly a year ago and he admitted they had considered it, but that there were good reasons for keeping it inside the normal business. He didn’t sound convinced to me at the time, and I’m sure this is part of the problem now. It’s a shame, because functionally and architecturally, the product they have built seems very good, although they have definitely missed a trick by sticking with the old style, traditional looking UI.

  2. Dennis Howlett

    @david is wrong in this. They haven’t stuck with a traditional UI but are using the new iterations. UI’s can be built within 30 days on the new stack so this isn’t an issue.

    The real issue is that they haven’t figured out the economics.

    TechEd is a BusinessSuite and BPX conference for developers so any talk about ByD would have been out of kilter with the conference aims.

    And there is no other way to put this but the person at ITBusiness Edge is either horribly misinformed or an idiot. The business model has been worked out (though it’s not working in practice which is another issue) and I’ve never seen research that indicates anything other than SMB/E’s want a single throat to choke. They have the same problems as everyone else and prefer a single supplier for as much as possible.

  3. Eran Kampf

    The root problems with BDD, which are the cause for the expensive lisencing etc., are technical.

    Instead of building new ERP software with SaaS in mind, it build yet another big-ass ERP using its old technology stack (e.g. ABAP + Java) and only decided to go for SaaS after the fact.
    (the thinking behind it as explained by executives was that the software supports both on-premise and SaaS, and SAP chooses to distribute SaaS only at first so that it can find and fix all scalability issues in the product in-house before delivering to customers)

    The fact that it only decided to go for SaaS after the fact meant that instead of going for a true SaaS solution (shared computing resources etc.) SAP went for the simplest and least effective form of SaaS avaulable – when a customer opens an account a new machine is setup as dedicated to him.
    Ofcourse these machines are virtualized and there’s some management system that automates this process – hence SAP can call it SaaS when in reality its just a bunch of dedicated servers…

    This model is not as cost-effective as real SaaS which seems to be making it hard for SAP to make it profitable…