I was struck by the statement of an SAP partner in an article about SAP Business ByDesign: “We are not using traditional SAP consultants to roll out BusinessByDesign solutions currently, the model is so different from the one they are used to.”
Now, how is it so different? Let me quickly recap what may be different for a ‘traditional SAP consultant’ in a customer implementation project of SAP Business ByDesign.
System landscape and management
What is different is the system landscape and the system management during an implementation project. Traditionally, there is a three-tier system landscape with software transports between them. So there is a development system, a test system and a production system. In the implementation of Business ByDesign, the project team starts in a test system. Once configuration is complete in the test system, the production system is requested. The system setup is completely managed by SAP, the production system contains all the configuration done in the test system. During the data migration, a system copy can be done, where data migration can be tested. After the testing phase, the production system is set live, which — among other things — freezes configuration.
(Authorization required: WIKI on system landscape: https://wiki.sme.sap.com/wiki/display/AMI/Infrastructure; only accessible for SAP and partners)
Business configuration (aka Customizing)
The next difference is, how configuration is done. There is a nice blog by Andreas describing the configuration tools.
The implementation team customizes the system by selecting the functionality in scoping, answering questions on process variants and defining configuration settings in fine-tuning. There is no need and no possibility to access backend tables and no need for detailed know-how on the meaning of table entries.
Implementation of Starter Packages
Well, this may also be different from previous consulting projects. The starter packages define a fixed scope and fixed price implementation. Implementation pricing is competitive and some implementation services are delivered online as opposed to a consulting team being onsite for a longer period of time. See a marketing video on what the starter packages for SAP Business ByDesign mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVnGXGGf-9g
Implementation of add-ons
Specific functionality can be developed as add-ons in SAP Business ByDeisng studio. These add-ons can either be customer-specific solutions or they can be scalable add-ons solutions developed by partners for all SAP Business ByDesign customers. The scalable add-on solutions are sold and distributed using the SAPStore.
For SAP Business ByDesign studio, see the blog series from Andreas Eissmann.
To my mind these differences are big improvements from a customer perspective and I hope the model will make implementation projects smoother and faster and maybe even a bit fun.