In this year’s keynote Business ByDesign appeared on one architectural slide diagram at the end of Leo’s pitch, but wasn’t even mentioned in the words. In a subsequent press and blogger conference, when asked about the product, Leo gave a primarily political sounding answer saying as little as possible and referring the questioner to announcements earlier in the year, and that there was no change. If I was a Business By Design customer or partner, I would be pretty worried by the lack of comment in the current strategy vision or compared to previous events.
SAP are the big boys in business software, and them committing to rolling out a SaaS offering was a real validater for the entire SaaS industry. What is really interesting to watch, since the delays to BBD were announced, are the reactions from commentators. Rather than claiming it’s an indictment on SaaS per se and, other than a few misinformed commentator who have been corrected, people realise that is much more about the ability (or otherwise) or traditional software vendors to change course to a SaaS model.
When the delays were first announced, I gave my opinion and to be honest nothing I’ve seen since then has changed the way I think.
To reiterate – it’s been said a number of times in the past that there is a big difference between the business model, revenue stream and development cycle of SaaS versus traditional software. These differences are such that it becomes very difficult for traditional software businesses to reinvent themselves into SaaS businesses.
An interesting post over on this blog looks at the particular issues facing SAP in its quest to introduce a SaaS offering. Specific takeaways include;
- SaaS is designed to reduce complexity, but SAP spent nearly four years developing Business By Design — and precious little of that time apparently went to coming up with a workable license model (read big ugly expensive offering)
- SAP doesn’t seem to understand that SMBs don’t necessarily want an entire software stack from the same vendor (read SMBs like the aggregation of multiple services – they’re generally not looking for an all-in-one deal)
Bottom line is that reinventing a big bloatware producing ISV into a slim SaaS provider is a big ask – as much culturally as technologically – can SAP do it? I’m not putting any money on it.
So what do the readers think – will SAP’s momentum within enterprise see them overcome the massive hurdles to bring a successful SaaS product to market – or is it just too hard a task for them?
CloudAve realtime, inline and up-to-the-minute update – CloudAve contributor Prasanth Rai was also at TechEd and gave some background to the Business ByDesign story here.