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Positioning SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Financials OnDemand

Hi folks,

In the run-up to launching SAP Financials OnDemand, I’ve been getting daily questions on how to position SAP Business ByDesign relative to SAP Financials OnDemand. And, since I am the marketing manager for both products, I thought it might be a good idea to put out a short, and strongly simplified clarification around this.

Please take a look at the following visual, which explains the differences in a such a simplified format.

ByD vs FinOD.jpg

Simply stated, SAP Business ByDesign is a single application (or a “single app” in today’s parlance) that customers can simply configure and use to run their entire business. This is specifically appropriate to the requirements of mid-size businesses, but also applies equally well to subsidiaries or divisions of larger enterprises, who want to buy only one application that does the job.

On the other hand we have our latest member of the Cloud Solutions family, SAP Financials OnDemand which we will fully launch at SAPPHIRE NOW in Madrid. This new solution is specifically designed to make finance organizations more efficient and to accelerate strategic execution. Finance OnDemand  provides a trusted, single source of truth for the enterprise, while at the same time enabling instant action based on superior insight.

But SAP Financials on Demand is more that just a financials solution! It also provides an open and flexible framework that forms the foundation for a loosely-coupled “Best of Suite” approach for enterprises, seeking to mix and match the financial core with best of breed components. With Financials OnDemand, other cloud solutions, starting with SAP Travel OnDemand, simply snap-in using open API’s to give customers a maximum of choice for building their own, personal best-of suite.

So, there you have it. SAP Business ByDesign is a single app that runs your entire business. And SAP Financials OnDemand is a cloud solution focussed on making the finance department more strategic.

Is there overlap between the solutions? Yes there is. The overlap cannot be avoided, because SAP Business ByDesign is using the same financial engine, and both products are available to large enterprises. But one can also look at the overlap from a benefits perspective. Both products are from SAP, and inherit 40 years of excellence in building financials solutions. Both solutions are engineered for the cloud, are fully multi-tenant and easily extensible using the same software development kit (SDK).

I hope this short blog helps to clarify the differences and similarities between SAP Financials OnDemand and SAP Business ByDesign. I look forward to your questions and comments.

CHHO, Walldorf, Oct 10, 2012

ByD vs FinOD.jpg
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  • @Christian - have you seen my slide deck that I shared with the team last month? If not then I suggest you do so. There is a fundamental flaw in your argument.

    • Hi Dennis, thanks for the comment and yes I saw the deck. Please do elaborate what you refer to specifically. I can guess, but it would be better to know specifically.

  • But SAP Financials on Demand is more that just a financials solution! It also provides an open and flexible framework that forms the foundation for a loosely-coupled "Best of Suite" approach for enterprises. With Financials OnDemand, other cloud solutions, starting with SAP Travel OnDemand, simply snap-in using open API's to give customers a maximum of choice for building their own, personal best-of suite.

    What exactly is meant here? Is this framework for applications that are primarily focused on finance-related business cases? Or is it a framework for applications that just need a little finance-related functionality? Both?

    How does this relate to NetWeaver Cloud?   I thought we had gotten rid of the old Core PaaS but I have the feeling that it is coming back with a new name.

    Can you please point me to these "open" APIs? Are they available anywhere? How do you define "open"?


    • @Dick - I've provided SAP with an opinion on this that talks to the notion of a Business Apps platform. That convo was under NDA as noted above.

      I can hear you jumping up and down now but be a little patient. If they have understood what was being said then you might feel happier given the other apps in the portfolio under this umbrella and how this can come together from a positioning perspective. On what I know, the tech should fit but as always it is never that simple.

    • Hi Richard, that's the kind of deeper detail we are in process of preparing for the launch time frame. But let me address your questions up front.
      - The kinds of applications we think will snap into Financials OnDemand will start with things like Travel and Expense Management which have a strong financials focus. But we are also making sure any kind of application can snap in as well using open web services. This includes SuccessFactors Employee Central and things such as Payroll. In future releases beyond Nov 2012, we are also looking into snapping in CRM, SRM etc. Like I said, open framework.

      - NetWeaver Cloud is the technology that will be used to enable this integration. We'll support more than one approach, depending on the use case. We are of course using the same SDK that's available for Business ByDesign, and all of the above is being harmonized with NetWeaver Cloud.

      - The best way to look at these API's is to look at the ByDesign SDK. Inside of SAP Financials OnDemand we have a process library, which is essentially defining and provisioning the end to end processes with well-defined integration points. I am happy to schedule a briefing on this so we can get into a bit more detail.

      Thanks for asking, it really helps us work out the details

  • Just curious Christian when you use the terminology "Best of Suite" what exactly do you mean...."it is the best product in SAP's suite of FI options" or "SAP considers it the best offering in the market" or something completely different.

    I would curious to have someone take a deep dive on the SAP FI OnDemand offering vs the Workday FI offering from the lens of what a large Enterprise actually needs although very few people have that level of expertise (hoping that is what Mr.Howlett did under NDA).

    • Hi Jarret, what I meant to imply (and maybe the choice of words is not quite perfect) is that enterprises would assemble their own End-To-End Suite "around" the new financials engine core. So enterprises would deploy a loosely coupled suite, either consisting of SAP components such as SAP Travel OnDemand, Employee Central etc., or other components that our customers consider "best of". The assumption is that a hybrid application landscape will be the norm in large enterprise, more so than in mid-market, where customers might prefer a "single app" like SAP Business ByDesign.

      Regarding the deep dive on the functionality I am happy to entertain that after the launch. Right now the team is very busy building out the rollout materials, web content, preparing, etc. I hope you understand.

      • Thanks for the clarity of Christian and would an interesting follow up blog on why SAP feels that the "hybrid application WILL BE the norm in large enterprise" as the single suite approach has worked well for SAP ERP and some of the SAP competitors such as Workday (HCM/FI) are slowing building out their suites so it would appear if I understand correctly that the SAP cloud team is making a big bet in the strategic direct they feel like Large Enterprise is headed.

        • Hi Jarret, absolutely valid request to clarify further. We're running a number of validation sessions with the usual suspects in the analyst community and I am convinced we will get a ton of useful feedback. I will report back from that as we get closer to launch, and of course, after SAPPHIRE NOW in Madrid. One point of clarification is important right now, however. I think the term hybrid has 2 dimensions. Hybrid in the sense of Cloud & On-Premise, where the assumptions is that On-Premise installations will still be around for a long time and will need to be elegantly integrated and harmonized. And Hybrid in the sense of SAP and non-SAP, which will be a reality as well. So, any new cloud app coming out has to have openness and flexible integration options built into it's very design, not just to support the new style of work including mobile and social/collaborative environments, but to maximize user freedom of choice.

          • Thanks for the response Christian but at the core of Hybrid is integration and SAP struggled to explain in a few weeks ago SAP Briefing - Cloud, Mobility and HCM so hopefully internally you have gotten your ducks in a row.

            On a side note when you say "open and flexible integration options built in" that "may" be the case for SAP FI Ondemand (can you please confirm) but is DEFINITELY not the case for SuccessFactors The Real Truth about SAP and SuccessFactors Integration as there is only ONE option available today with another being added in Feb (NW Cloud Integration) and both use SAP technologies for integration (so not that open if you asked me)

          • Hi Jarret, yes, I heard about the technology briefing and we think learned a lot about messaging this more consistently. I think come TechEd you will see a lot of clarification here. Its certainly a call to action we have clearly heard, stay tuned!

  • This is exactly the direction SAP needs to go.  I like the use of "Best of Suite".  It's a very clever way of framing the future presentation of the business suite.  The secret sauce will be with NW Cloud and having a HANA PaaS at the Core.  This will be where the brains of process integration to create the loosely coupled suite will live.

    In my view, SAP absolutely understands the future look of enterprise systems.  This is the most clear statement given so far about that future.  Great job Christian and all!  I'm now waiting for SRM OnDemand, and SCM OnDemand.

    Depending on the the rate of development of NW cloud it would be great if SAP acquired the likes of a SnapLogic or Mulesoft so that there is a comprehensive way of integrating non-SAP solutions.

    Bravo you guys.

      • Great point Dick and it is important to note that as of today the Netweaver Cloud Integration will cost EXTRA to use even to integrate with SAP's own products such as SuccessFactors. It is something that I know SAP/SuccessFactors is reviewing internally and I provided my views in the blog referenced above.

      • @ Richard, I think the cost issue has to be factored into the overall value proposition. I don't mean to deflect from the valid argument, but cost itself is not an issue as long as there is value. Like I said above, I'd like to wait for TechEd, lots of stuff brewing, and pick this thread up again

      • I agree with Chris point:
        As you heard on SAPPHIRENOW in May already we also partner with Mulesoft, CastIron and Boomi. All of these integration solutions cost money as well and SAP Netweaver Cloud Integration is just another tool in my opinion.

        I can relate though to the question of Jarret whether it should cost anything to integrate SAP's own solutions with each other using Netweaver Cloud Integration.

        Personally I believe standard integration of our own solutions should work out-of-the-box and therefore an integration tool shouldn't even be needed. This will of course be more difficult with acquired companies such as SuccessFactors and Ariba, but it should be fairly easy with Customer OnDemand, Travel OD and Finance OD. Maybe that's a little bit naive, but that's what we should be aiming for.

        • In my view the idea of an integration platform is to create an abstraction layer from the line of business app, regardless of whether its an SAP LoB solution or not.  You want to protect your business processes, business rules, and data assets from the business departments that may decide to switch up their LoB solutions for the next shiny thing.  The Cloud Core concept is about creating an infrastructure to protect process and data while embracing the loosely coupled suite approach.

          SAP should strive to have a single integration solution that can work with their own OnDemand solutions and any other vendor solution.  Everything should be abstracted.  If SAP decides to not charge to integrate with their own OnDemand solutions then that would be a smart piece of marketing.  But you always want that integration layer in there.

          Give it a few more years and you will see how that lack of abstraction that SalesForce,com has when integrating their LoB solutions with will bite them back.  They are in for a serious blow back from the Large Enterprise customer.  Their attempt to vendor lock-in by not abstracting is what is keeping people there for now, but eventually and the customer will pay the piper for that decision.