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Browsing through the offerings in the SAP Store for Business ByDesign, and sorting by the number of downloads, the only successful apps seem to be the iPhone and iPad apps. Makes sense. They’re free and functional. All us mobile/iPhone users get some decent value, and executives love playing with their iPads.

But going beyond those few, you will see the number of downloads decrease exponentially.

  1. SAP Business ByDesign Dashboard app for iPad, by SAP – 300 downloads, FREE
  2. SAP Business ByDesign app for mobile devices, by SAP – 270 downloads, FREE
  3. SAP Business ByDesign Active Sales app for iPad, by SAP – 39 dowloads, FREE
  4. Pro Forma Invoice, by SAP – 15 downloads, FREE
  5. Planning Table for Services, by Data One – 11 downloads, $43/user/month
  6. Sales Order Confirmation with Planned Delivery Date, by SAP – 11 downloads, FREE
  7. Google Maps integration, by Google – 8 downloads, FREE
  8. B2B Business Partner Integration and Collaboration, by Crossgate – 4 downloads, no pricing info
  9. Multi-Project-Cockpit (for ByD Excel Add-In), by IBIS – 4 downloads, $750 one-time fee
  10. Hybris Commerce for SAP Business ByDesign, by Hybris – 4 downloads, no pricing info

There are over a hundred solutions that come after these in the list. Beginning at solution number 36, there are zero downloads. This means the vast majority of solutions have never been used.

So what’s the deal? Are all these solutions useless to the customer? Are they too hard to buy? Too expensive?

In my opinion, the only question above I can answer with a ‘yes’ is that many are too hard to buy. This is an app store. All vendors should be required to at least provide some pricing information on their product. Having to go through the process of contacting the offering vendor, waiting for a response, and then finally discuss pricing completely defeats the purpose of an app store.

I can’t help but feel that most partners are going about things wrong. Of the top 10 solutions, 8 are native to ByDesign. Only two are integrations. Yes, it’s true that there are plenty best of breed solutions out there that can be integrated into one process or another in ByDesign. But I believe that ByDesign will be most successful with native solutions that cater to vertical markets.

ByDesign is supposed to be an end-to-end solution for fast-growing midsize companies. So why are we not working to complete that vision with industry-specific, native solutions?

Well, for one, SAP and the ByDesign Studio just haven’t enabled their partners to do that yet. I believe this will change, but not for quite a while. The Studio is great for creating apps that are outside the normal ByD processes, but not so good for building up those processes for industry verticals.

SAP is committed to the Cloud and ByDesign. That’s been confirmed. But I think the marketing of the SAP Store and the capabilities of the Studio have a long way to go before they can be dominate in the Cloud.

I do think the store can be successful for partners, customers, and SAP alike, which I’ll share my thoughts on at a later date.

Follow me on twitter @JudsonOnDemand

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4 Comments

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  1. Billy Gast

    Great post

    I have a few points after reading your Article.

    The Downloads are a little misleading on the Store.  Many of the integrations do not need actual Downloads.  Currently we have a Point of Sale integration, a Magento Integrations and soon to be on there a Sales Force integration and EDI(850-Sales Order) integration. None Of these require actual Store Downloads.

    The reason there is not pricing on some of the Apps is that many of them employ a Tiered Pricing structure or Channel pricing, and also require implementation.  It is hard to compare the SAP App store to an Apple store as ERP add-ons can really require quite a bit more work to implement than angry birds. Granted there are some simple ones that need to be done, but also some more complex solutions I believe will be coming 😉 …

    I do Agree with you that the current SDK is not fully enabling partners to implement all of their “Dream” apps. I know we have quite a few on the “Wish to do” list. I went to the Initial Training a couple years ago when they first showed the SDK (To us Americans).  And from where it was then to where it is now is night and day I have been to many training sessions since (sorry Christian 😉 ) and each one excites me with the new possibilities.  Is there still a long ways to go? Yes. But I see great things coming with 4.0 and future releases.  which will only help developers.  The main issue now For SAP is keeping developers focused on the tool.. It is really easy to get frustrated developing. We have had many “dead end” projects.. Many I fear get down the Road then hit that dead end, and that is the end they lose confidence in it.  Once the tool catches up to expectations I really feel the Market will get Flooded with apps. 

    Finally ByDesign is still in its infancy not in terms of functionality but in terms of client base.  Most of our Customers are focused on a Phase One implementation and going live with the standard feature set (this is different for industry specific add-on Solutions).  I feel that after they have embraced and mastered their business with the basics they will then look to improving and expanding into these solutions.  You have to be careful in an implementation putting the Eye candy apps before the necessary business workflow and structures.  I think as the Customer base matures you will see quite an uptick in the Store.

    (Pardon my spelling and grammar I am a Developer for a Reason 😉 )

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    1. Judson Wickham Post author

      I agree with you on all points except pricing. It’s clear that some solutions require more complex implementation, but I believe every solution needs to be published with at least an estimated price.

      I am very optimistic about the future of the Studio and ByD itself. I switched from PeopleSoft consulting to do ByDesign, and now I have 7 months experience with the Studio, and I’m committed.

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