SAP Business ByDesign goals are
Business ByDesign, SAP AG’s long-awaited on-demand enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, hit the Canadian market on Monday alongside a global user adoption target that is notably less lofty than originally set back in 2007.

The newest feature pack, 2.6, for Business ByDesign follows version 2.5 released last July. Now that Business ByDesign is generally available, with 250 customers already using it, the Germany-based software vendor has set a modest target of 1,000 users globally by end of 2011.

But when the hosted suite was originally launched in beta in 2007, SAP had set a much higher target of 10,000 users by end of 2007. General availability, however, was hindered by problems of scalability and multi-tenancy.

According to Nigel Wallis, research director for application solutions with Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd., SAP’s 1,000-user global target by end of 2011 “seems considerably more credible” given less than five per cent of Canadian medium and large enterprises have adopted cloud-based ERP systems.
Besides SAP having to contend with inhibitors to cloud-based computing such as governance, compliance and security, Wallis said another issue is the cloud market has continued to move forward while SAP was busy fixing Business ByDesign.

Although SAP has made “concerted investments” to ensure Business ByDesign is scalable and has multi-tenancy, Wallis said this took much longer than anticipated. “While they were working on that, their competitors didn’t stand still,” he said.

In the meantime, said Wallis, there has been substantial adoption of cloud computing in areas such as sales force automation, recruiting and collaboration, limited adoption in platform-as-a-service and cloud-based server and storage computing, and definite interest in private cloud computing. However, he added, “ERP and related integrated horizontal enterprise applications have been slower to be adopted.”

Feature pack 2.6 comes with capabilities including extended mobile support to the iPad and BlackBerry in addition to existing support for the iPhone, as well as in-memory-powered sales and financial planning modules.

SAP Canada’s national vice-president of small-to-medium enterprises and indirect sales, Rene Guguere, couldn’t speak to specific user adoption targets for Canada for Business ByDesign, but did say it will be “something that makes sense.”

The tendency for any vendor, acknowledged Guguere, is to set lofty expectations for user adoption but “we’re going to be realistic in Canada and overachieve those goals this year.”

Guguere said there will soon be a salesforce in place in Canada to bring Business ByDesign to market.

Wallis noted SAP must deal with the likes of San Mateo, Calif.-based NetSuite Inc. who already has had an offering on the market for several years.

That said, Wallis thinks Business ByDesign has the advantage of an “SAP stamp of approval, which, in a market so critical to business success is important.”

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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