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For the latest podcast in my “SAP Community Network Podcast Series Moch II,” we have a dandy with Sina Moatamed, the former CIO of an early SAP Business ByDesign customer. SAP’s Greg Chase was instrumental in lining this one up, so if you like this one, let Greg hear about it.

This 24 minute podcast starts out with a discussion between myself and Sina, who shares the lessons he has learned grappling with the role of SaaS ERP for SMEs. Sina has developed a clear case for how “the cloud” helps SMEs become more agile – perhaps even giving them a leg up on large enterprises that must contend with their legacy IT systems.

During the last section of the podcast, SAP’s Siva Darivemula joins the discussion and shares the latest news about SAP Business ByDesign. What I found most compelling about this podcast was the discussion of how SaaS ERP can help SMEs move ERP from an IT undertaking to a business-driven exercise. Sina thinks this trend is the future for large enterprises as well. One line from Sina that stood out for me: “Now my engineer isn’t an engineer, it’s an attorney.” (Meaning that the business user is driving the service at the point of business impact, without the need for IT customization).

Other highlights of the podcast include what Sina is looking forward to in ByD 2.6 and beyond (hint: apps store!), and an example of how ByD allowed his company to improve their “business agility.”

Reference links: this podcast references the new SAP Business ByDesign at BPX.SAP.com. Also check out the ByDesign and On Demand blog categories on SCN. During the podcast, Moatamed makes several references to SLAs (Service Level Agreements). For those new to the term, here’s a definition.

(If for any reason the player doesn’t work, you can download the podcast using the “download media” link on the right hand side).

 

(Trouble downloading? if for some reason it’s not playing in its entirety for you, check out the version on JonERP.com in the meantime.

Podcast Highlights

1:!5 How Sina ended up as a CIO of an SME: Sina already had a large enterprise CIO background and had a clear sense of how enterprises could scale.

2:30 What Sina learned by “walking around” when he started at BendPak: there were a lot of disjointed systems, a lack of master date BendPak could rely on for comprehensive analytics – they needed a better sense of how to move the company forward strategically, based on really solid information.

4:00 Sina: For the SME, the real challenge is how do you bring in a suite model that will tie those processes together in a financially responsible way for the long run, so IT isn’t a roadblock but a place of enablement for the business itself.

5:52 Jon to Sina: How could ByD help address those issues? Sina: what was fascinating about the ByD platform is that it was a suite, and it could be delivered as an on-demand model. in a traditional model, you’re focused on the components of a service, but the business experience is around the service itself. Now you’re buying the service at the place the business is consuming it. That’s the essence of the shift of cloud technology. now you can be less concerned with the anatomy and more on the service itself. Now my engineer isn’t an engineer, it’s an attorney. You can also configure your processes without any programming using ByD’s business configuration, so that lends itself to business agility.

8:45 Sina: This whole idea of self-service is really the innovation of cloud technology is providing. It’s a self-service to derive what you need for the business, and that’s a big shift, and that’s what we accomplished at BendPak.

10:30 Sina on why SMEs have an advantage moving from infrastructure focus on business enablement focus. SMEs are paving the way for this new model of IT management, you’re moving away from infrastructure management to business consulting and enablement, and that’s the role of the new CIO and the IT in general.

13:30 ByD 2.0 to ByD 2.6 – what features is Sina looking forward to? Sina: I’m not sure what the name is yet, but this idea of an application store and an open architecture for integration is extremely appealing. This new architecture that’s coming is something I’m really looking forward to, primarily greater automation between applications and services.

14:45 Jon to Sina: You’ve talked about using ByDesign for business agility, but what does it mean? Sina: Here’s an example: we had a strategic change and we wanted to create a whole new distribution location for the company internationally. We discussed it in December, and instead of it being a long drawn out process, we went live with it January 2011.

17:15 Siva to Sina: Let’s say I’m not as knowledgeable as you are, what should I do? Sina: where you need to begin is with your processes, so you could look a lead-to-cash from a continuity perspective. You could ask: do we have the master data, analytics, and structure and controls to get consistent information about business performance? And if there are gaps, you can see which cloud offering can fill the gaps. You really need to start, it’s an outside-in exercise, it’s not an IT focused perspective.

19:45 Siva to Sina: So what’s the path to cloud from there? Sina: There’s different cloud offerings and approaches. With any leadership role, the goal is to reduce constraints in your business and get rid of them. So, you review the process, to say, identify your constraints, and it will start to become very evident. Identity the core requirements and see how you’re going to execute, and cloud will present itself when you look at solutions.

21:35: Jon to Siva: What’s the latest on ByD on SCN? Siva: There will be a lot with ByD on SCN this year. the SAP Business ByDesign, and many resources will be added there. There will be plenty of news coming out at Sapphire as well, between now and Sapphire and after Sapphire as well.

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