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Last week I had the opportunity to go to SAP Palo Alto to see SAP’s strategy on Cloud, Mobility and In-Memory. Thanks Mike Prosceno and Stacey Fish!

I am not going to write much about it as it has already been quite well covered by the following BLOGs:

http://andvijaysays.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/sap-needs-a-better-cloud-and-platform-story-and-a-good-story-teller/

http://scn.sap.com/community/erp/hcm/blog/2012/09/19/sap-briefing–cloud-mobility-and-hcm

The message about Cloud strategy presented by SAP needs some work. In my opinion it misses the biggest reason why customers look for cloud solutions in the first place. Customers do it as a way to simplify their landscapes and abstract from the technicalities of the platform.  This is quite well highlighted in the following BLOG post:

http://blogs.sap.com/cloud/2012/07/17/why-i-dont-care-about-cloud-computing/

“it just works”

So, any attempt to describe cloud strategy focusing on its technology aspects will fail. Of course platform details are relevant, but they are secondary.

My point of view is that SAP needs to focus its Cloud “pitch” on its cloud offerings, its SaaS products. 

And with that in mind, what I consider the most clear and compelling Cloud offering is SAP Business By Design. It is a functionality rich ERP solution run completely on the cloud. All the technical aspects of its implementation are simply hidden from the customers. Multiple separate software units, loosely coupled together in a multi-tenant environment powered by HANA. “It just works”. It is very easy to identify its value.

However, this solution has been getting very little attention these days. In fact, SAP’s Cloud strategy is said to be focusing on its “4 pillars”, that being “Money”, “People”, “Customers” and “Suppliers”. Where is ByD on this? In fact, the answer is surprising, but 2 or 3 of these offerings are built on and leverage a lot of ByD functionalities.

So why is so little said about ByD? I just believe it is a problem of focus.

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14 Comments

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  1. Krishnakumar Ramamoorthy

    Leo

    I see your point but there is one important discussion that I am not reading in any of these blogs. Everyone says messaging is not clear or correct. Actually, I see that there is a message, it’s just that, it can’t be the only message because audience differ. I did feel that in SAPPHIRE, which has predominantly business audience, the message was still largely technology based. Granted there were some simplification and business use cases, but I think that SAPPHIRE content should be organized around industry verticals rather than technology horizontals.

    Now, coming back to the technology message. I don’t agree with a general statement on ‘I don’t care about cloud’. Yes, as a business user, I don’t care but as a technologist, I do and I should. If I don’t understand the nuances, how can I convince myself and my business that going cloud is the right way? Just telling the business that ‘Believe me, it will work, is not going to help’. Telling the business that ‘Here is your problem’, ‘Here is the solution’ and by the way, ‘Here is why it is a sustainable solution’ will work.

    I don’t know much about ByD, so I will take your insights, but as an outsider, if SAP doesn’t promote ByD, I would only think that SAP doesn’t believe that it is a sustainable cloud solution for every one (may be only for SMBs). If I am the CIO/CTO and I decide to use SAP’s cloud and SAP says, their new cloud strategy is the way to go, I am all ears for the new strategy rather than trying to question them why not ByD. It’s a commodity after all, so as long as it works for both tech and business, why do I care 🙂

    And oh, I don’t know what message was conveyed in the “influencer” meeting, but if the message was confusing for both technologists and business, well, there is a bigger question, not just ‘Why not ByD?’.

    Hope to chat with you about this in detail..

    KK

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    1. Judson Wickham

      Fyi, the OnDemand solutions are built on the ByD platform, so scalability can’t be a concern. Why buy a bunch of ‘loosely coupled’ ByD solutions when you can just buy ByD itself?

      It

      makes

      no

      sense.

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    2. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      Hi KK,

      Thanks for your insight on this. Appreciated.

      I thought I had put enough spin towards focusing on ByD. Concerning the work to be done on “On-demand” offerings is not a personal view only. Please take a look at the other BLOGs I listed there. They will give you some background.

      All I wanted was to focus on ByD. It is a great tool and has a huge value.

      By no means I say SAP doesn’t believe in it. They do and they invest on it. My BLOG goes exacltly to the point that the message about “Cloud” doesn’t leverage ByD enough.

      I believe SAP has a great set of products for the CLOUD. ByD is a central piece to its strategy and I would like to see it positioned like that.

      Leo

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  2. Judson Wickham

    You know how I feel about this:

    SAP Sales OnDemand = Fancy ByD CRM

    SAP Travel OnDemand = Not fancy ByD Travel and Expenses

    SAP Financials OnDemand = Probably exactly the same as ByD Financials

    I don’t understand this strategy at all. I get that they want ‘cloud’ products for large enterprise, but someone making decisions at SAP must be out of touch with reality to think that a large enterprise doesn’t have a well established financial system.

    And as far as scalability goes, and I cannot repeat this enough:

    SAP OnDemand Products are built on and scale with the Business ByDesign platform

    So over all this OnDemand stuff that is just flashy ByD minimally scoped.

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      Yes Judsom, it could be frustrating.

      The solution portfolio for Cloud is Great and, as mentioned above, ByD plays a central role in it.

      Myself (and you too I believe) would just like to see it positioned that way, right?

      😉

      Thanks

      Leo

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  3. Arnulfo Díaz Ruiz

    As a ByD noob, I really love it, I think is a great idea and I’m happy to have the opportunity to work on it, but I also start to feel worry, even a little scared, Why is SAP not giving the attention that ByD deserves? Why are they focusing on products that no just have less coupling than ByD, but also are based on the same platform?

    I just don’t get it.

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    1. Judson Wickham

      None of us in the ByD world get it, and no one at SAP will ever willingly acknowledge the fact that the LoB apps are built on the same platform. The Opportunity BO in Sales OnDemand is the exact same Opportunity BO in ByD.

      The LoB apps are targeted to Large Enterprise, which validates that the platform scales just fine.

      SAP should be selling ByD to Large Enterprise, who is used to having a full suite.

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      1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

        Guys, I don’t believe there is reason to panic (or worry) ;-).

        SAP believes in ByD and invests on it.

        Again, it is just how it comes out in this Cloud message that it is confusing…

        If there is a disconnect between product value and message(and I believe there is), it is going to be for us, partners to prove them wrong and push it to market adoption.

        Customers are lining up…  😉

        Leo

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  4. Tim Guest

    Nice post. I do agree with you on SAP’s “Message” on cloud but also we need to bear in mind that the audience differes massively. SAP are looking at their Business One Starter Pack OnDemand which will be a simple cloud ERP solution for up to 5 users. Combine that with the power of the ByD products and you have a vastly differing customer base. Ideally SAP need to identify what products are aimed at who and target the message accordingly.

    As an SAP Business One re seller we are sometimes now competing against ByD with the Business One OnDemand offering which I don’t think should happen. Again we need a clear message from SAP as to what size / type of customer each product is aimed at.

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo Post author

      Thanks for your feedback Tim.

      Yes, I agree with you. I think attention should be paid on correctly positioning these different products. There is a clear overlapping in some areas but the products are quit different.

      So, for cloud hosted solutions, when is B1 a better fit then ByD? When is ByD a better fit then B1.

      It could be clearer and it would benefit all.

      Both products are great, but if customers (and us) have a hard time understanding which one SAP is proposing, it is not good.

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  5. Chet Gandhi

    Leo,

    we are an SAP customer looking at ByD and are facing the same issues, as an SMB we really want to look at ByD seriously but also need key functionality like Performance & Talent Mgt, AD Integration and flexible approval workflow capability but dont have a clear picture if either one of these will be addressed in the near future, especially since all we hear about is that SAP is heavily investing in mobility, Hana and add on Cloud Apps and solutions like Successfactors. 

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    1. Judson Wickham

      I have been wanting to build performance and talent management for a long time. If there’s a demand, I will.

      Btw the approval workflow in ByD is the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen.

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      1. Chet Gandhi

        Judson,

        thanks for a quick response. My CIO and I will be attending the ByD user conference next week and hope to connect with other customers and potential customers and find out what they are doing and are interested in as well. Is there a Influence council for ByD?

        Also, we are working with a partner and it seems that if we have multiple steps in the approval process and if the cost center owner and the line manager are the same person (in different steps), the same approver will have to approve the same PR twice or more based on the rules. It would have a key impact since a lot of our VPs and execs will have to approve the same PR multiple times. Per our technical contact, there doesnt seem to be anything that is possible to check if the approver for the next step has already approved.

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