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SAP’s OnDemand Hype-Machine Over-Promises, Under-Delivers

Since the inception of SAP’s cloud portfolio, starting with ByDesign release 2.5/2.6, SAP has hyped shiny new features and processes for their products and support. They FAIL time and time again by over-promising and under-delivering in the following ways:

1) Hyping a release way, way before it’s delivered to the customer. Customers hate this. They hear about all the things that will address their pain points, and want that functionality when it’s announced. The reality is much different.


Example: Pinkberry. The company got hands on access to ByDesign FP2.5/2.6 at SAPPHIRE in May 2010. New customers were brought on board with these feature packs but the early adopters were left in the dust. Pinkberry didn’t get upgraded to FP2.6 until September 2011. That’s over a year and a half after it was available. I came back from SAPPHIRE 2010 with a glowing report to Pinkberry on all the new functionality. Imagine my embarrassment when we didn’t get anything from my glowing report until 1.5 years later.


2) Promising performance improvements to customers with each release. This simply is not the case. If the performance of SAP’s OnDemand products has improved in any way, it would have to be measured in nano-seconds. This is still the number one complaint of ByDesign customers. At least they got rid of that annoying spinning orange wheel and replaced it with a scrolling orange bar while you wait for a transaction to be completed.


3) With the release of FP4.0, developers were promised a 3 day turnaround on Public Solution Model requests. I can tell you from personal experience that I have many weeks-old requests that are unfulfilled with no timeline on the horizon for delivery. If SAP wants it’s OnDemand products to be beefed up by the Partners, they’re certainly not showing it. What is the point of General Availability of Nothing?


= 3 __________ TURNAROUND. Fill in the blank.

Edit: I just got this clarification from the Z-man himself.

I said:For existing BOs, we respond in 3 days and deliver with the next hot fix collect.

However, I will not retract my statements at this time, because:

  • I can’t confirm the 3 day response time, but I put in 3 requests yesterday, so we shall see.
  • The next hot fix collect? That is so vague and non-committal that it provides no answer to the problem. What is the schedule/cycle for hot fixes?

Even though he probably has no idea who I am, I have been challenging Rainer since my first SAPPHIRE in 2010. I do this, of course, because I love ByDesign and I’m committed to it’s continual improvement. Rainer usually sort of brushes off my questions, but maybe that’s just what high-level people do when confronted by a peon such as myself.

4) Analytics. SAP boasts a comprehensive analytics engine that makes reporting a breeze. But try running a report showing the ship-to address on a Sales Order. You can’t. This is just one of many, many examples where data is not reportable. Why enter data into a system if you can’t get it out?

DataInNoDataOut (2).jpg

SAP has come a long way in improving it’s culture and enablement of it’s partners. I appreciate and applaud that.

But until the above four points are resolved, deals will continue to be lost to NetSuite, SalesForce, Workday, Plex, etc. It’s almost as if SAP is blocking it’s own success. The golden rule of software and consulting is to under-promise and over-deliver. SAP is doing the opposite.

Follow me on Twitter @JudsonOnDemand

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    • I have been in the ByD space since the beginning, as Customer #30. Since then I’ve transferred to a consulting and development role with a partner.

      While it can be frustrating at times, there has been a massive amount of improvement over the years, which is why I’ve stuck with it. I truly believe that when SAP finally gets it’s act together on the points above, ByD is going to be disruptively huge.

  • Hi Judson,

    A bold and important post – good work. I see some worrying trends here. For 1, SAP have been over-hyping their integration with SuccessFactors despite it being a 1-way transfer (although at least delta transfer is now available). I’ve heard someone very senior at SAP UK say that SF is already fully integrated with SAP ERP HCM. As you say, this only annoys customers when they find out the reality is significantly different.

    SAP’s messages over point 4 can be confusing for HCM customers because SAP are offering comprehensive analytics and reporting in SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics, yet currently not all data can be held in one system without creating custom integration and thus doesn’t quite live up to the messages we’ve been hearing.

    I hope SAP’s marketing teams can align more with the product teams and not over-aggressively market their products in the same way someone like Oracle might. It’s one thing marketing your features and functionality, but it’s an entirely different thing to market something that simply doesn’t exist.

    Keep up the great work in this area.

    Best regards,


    • “I hope SAP’s marketing teams can align more with the product teams and not over-aggressively market their products in the same way someone like Oracle might. It’s one thing marketing your features and functionality, but it’s an entirely different thing to market something that simply doesn’t exist.”

      Exactly. Expectations (marketing) should reflect reality (the product).

      I have also heard that there is some sort of ByD/SuccessFactors integration in the works. Is this true? I think it’s a valid strategy as the perception of ByD HCM is that it’s a little ‘light’ (but it’s not. Customers just don’t use it).

      • I expect that there will be integration between ByD and SuccessFactors using the SAP NetWeaver Cloud and/or the SAP NetWeaver PI OnDemand PaaS platforms. It would make sense.

        • Hi Luke, think of it less as an issue of what the underlying technology is, but what the 3 aspects of integration will look like … (1) UI/UX, (2) Data, (3) Process/Rules

          We will proceed at all three “levels”, but cautiously, since we also need to preserve and even enhance the openness of the individual offerings while increasing the harmonization of the aspects in all layers. You have already seen the vision of the UI/UX at SAPPHIRE NOW and we are proceeding along these lines, always with the key aspects of consistent, easy and fun to use interfaces, as well as built-in mobility, social and collaboration. At the data level, a harmonized data and meta data model is key to allow integration not only between the different cloud offerings from SAP, but also to 3rd party systems. At the process/workflow level, we will continue to work along a set of integration scenarios but I don’t think we will be using just one technology but use whatever best technology can give us a maximum balance between integration and openness in terms of a harmonized set of cloud components.

          • Hi Christian,

            For me data integration is the number 1 key scenario (without that the rest is a bit of a no-go) and the platform is very important. Applications have to be able to communicate with each other and the integration has to be seamless and plug-and-play in order for a high adoption rate and for SAP to go back to telling us that one of their advantages over competitors is integration.

            I am already working with SAP on the integration, but I like to give my 2-pence worth in the public domain too 🙂

            Best regards,


          • yupp, agreed, keep the feedback coming!

            Personally I am a big fan of all things platform and the more the community engages with us and makes the case, the more focus you’ll see

  • Hi Judson, thanks for posting, it shows that you care and that you are interested SAP “getting its act together”.

    Like you said, there has been a massive amount of improvement, and expecially after the acquisition of SuccessFactors, I have seen a level of simplification, accelleration and passion for Cloud Computing that simply was not there before, and is frankly dizzying and exciting. I have been with SAP Business ByDesign since it’s very beginnings when it was still called “Project Vienna”. It’s a very ambitious program and I’d be happy to share some of the history of trial and error from the very early days (maybe over a beverage at some event?)

    Key point is. SAP is making a huge investment in Cloud, including SAP Business ByDesign as a suite, as well as a series of smaller, agile Cloud Services for different lines of business. While we are still investing heavily in ByDesign to keep innovating at a faster pace than ever, you should maybe take a look at some of the new offerings including Travel OnDemand and Sales OnDemand which espouse the very concepts you highlight in your blog post. I’d be interested in in your direct and unfiltered feedback.

    As an additional point, we are also working on a Financials solution the cloud and … taking a book out of your page … we are taking to market very carefully, deliberately and without hyping up before we have initial proof points.

    So, as a conclusion. Thanks again for posting. I don’t think we have all the answers yet, but we are on a very good path and with a community like this, where we have honest and open dialog, we’ll not only get better, but will surprise a lot of folks out there.


    • Christian,

      Thank you for the comments.

      However, Sales and Travel OnDemand are the perfect examples of what I’m talking about. They are built on the exact same platform as ByDesign, and while they have ‘thing-based navigation’ and are diverging from ByDesign, they are the same at the core.

      I can build you Travel OnDemand with the ByDesign Studio.

      Sales OnDemand uses the exact same Business Objects as ByDesign.

      But SAP seems to tout these products as something totally new, when they’re just not.

      I’m glad you’re taking a different approach to Financials, but I’ll bet you a beer (to be paid out when we discuss things over a beverage) that it will be straight-up ByDesign Financials with a UI makeover.

      I like the LoB approach and I think it’s smart, but I wish everyone would stop denying that SAP is just putting lipstick on a pig.

      I know SAP is making a huge investment in the cloud, and that’s why I’ve stuck around since 2008. And don’t forget, I even did a freakin’ commercial for y’all.

      [embed width="425" height="350"][/embed]

      • Hi Judson, I really understand your perspective. I have a slightly different view (trying to be as neutral one can be as a marketing guy)

        – I think its actually a good thing that we are re-using the platform of ByD
        (you might call it putting lipstick on a pig, but I think it’s a darn fine pig and some mighty lipstick indeed :=))

        – I think that the new Line-Of-Business App’s are a new thing. They might be re-using the platform (good) but they are built around a different design center (stand-alone, dedicated target audience, built for collaboration, mobile, social feeds, etc.)

        – The initial releases of a common platform are sharing lots of attributes, that is to be expected of any good platform. I expect the LOB apps to rapidly innovate in the direction of their dedicated target audiences

        – I totally believe that you can create something similar to Travel OnDemand Relase 1 in the ByD SDK. That is actually a testament to the SDK which has just become commercially available. But I think you will be surprised about all the work that’s going on in terms of travel and expense partner, app integration etc. It will evolve fast

        – You’re on for the beer, if we don’t wow you with the 3 release of the Financials Cloud. (Naturally release 1 will leverage a lot of the code we have, but the longer term vision is very different from the ByD suite, which has always been targeted at companies wanting to run their entire business on a single suite)

        I hope this helps in terms of perspective and I truly value your engagement and comments


        • Christian,

          I think it’s a good thing to that the LoB apps are using the underlying platform too. I just wish SAP would acknowledge it. But it seems like everyone is trying to hide this fact.

          I am very much looking forward to getting more involved with the LoB apps. I’m hoping to get the Cloud Studio to create add-ons for the LoB apps, but I’m not keeping my hopes up. I also want to implement these for LE (I used to do global PeopleSoft Financials consulting), but I’m not sure how to get into that Channel.

          I stand by my 4 points, but I absolutely appreciate your response. You’re showing me the ‘new SAP’ with your honesty.

  • Hey Judson,

    as you know I always appreciate your feedback and with a few things you are probably even right.

    Here’s what you can do to help us getting better in analytics:

    Use the ideas forum:

    Post where data sources or data in data sources is needed. It’s up to every application area to improve their analytics, so split up your feedback for each of them.

    Or build something with the SDK: Build a new BO, copy existing BOs into your new BO, build a data source on top of it plus a report; publish it on the SAP Store.

    Regarding hotfix collections:

    Every customer system gets hotfixes delivered every two weeks. A defined quality process exist for hotfixes to ensure that nothing breaks if we just publish code to existing customers. Therefore it takes a few more than just two weeks to deliver a hotfix to customers, unless it’s not a customer’s customer stopper. Those are delivered via so called emergency hotfixes.

    With that I probably say goodbye for now. Hope to talk to you soon again!

  • Hi Judson,

    thanks for sending me your PSM requests via email.

    As you mentioned in your email your old requests from the past are not needed anymore.

    Therefore I only followed up on the three requests that you created incidents for over the weekend.

    You should have gotten a first response to all of the three in the promised 3 days timeframe.

    I want to mention one of them explicitely because you created another question about it here on SCN:

    I responded already there as well, but once again briefly: The field mentioned in that thread and requested by you to be released for write access in the PSM is in face already released and this also works if you put your solution in the correct deployment unit or use an A2A integration.

    Best regards