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Let me start by telling you what I think of SAP Business ByDesign – I Love it.

It seems to me I always go for the quirky rather than the mainstream mac rather than PC, Mercedes not BMW, Bellowhead not Boyzone. You get the picture? And so it is with ByDesign. Some years ago when I was selling and implementing Sage, I noticed that more and more I was being asked about server-hosted applications (asp) and the use of remote desktop and virtualisation. This was of course the IT Department’s way of standardising and making support simple, and the PC platform more reliable (Win98 anyone?). I started looking more at the server based model for application delivery and came across salesforce.com. I remember sfdc at softworld 1999 and everyone telling me about their concerns for data security, availability and useability. This was when broadband for the masses was likely to be 512K, hmmm!! but I could see cloud was the way. I just felt infrastructure and attitude needed to catch up with sfdc.

I kept a weather eye on this new “cloud” computing and saw more and more adoption of it, and noticed that when selling Sage I was being asked about mobile access, remote access even Web Access!!!! Well of course crm did it ACT for Web was around, as was Saleslogix webclient but bothe of these needed clients to have their own web servers, this meant more infrastructure not less. It wasn’t long after that I heard of a start up called NetSuite and how they were delivering Financial software via the web: WOW I thought, then I thought how secure (who is this NetSuite?), how reliable (I need to invoice every day!) and how compliant (VAT? ever heard of it USA?) but it would have been easy to focus on NetSuite, mainstream cloud application taking the world by storm? Then I saw a small article hidden away on some website about SAP (The frightening German Behemoth, with compliant, reliable software), but not as mainstream as Oracle, and their top secret project A1S. This intrigued me, I learned more and then I got the call I was waiting for to work at SAP. Then I immediately was taken in by the full ERP suite that was A1S but bloomed into Business ByDesign. With  it’s quirky netweaver interface, strange process configurations, and it was all delivered over the web: Secure (Of course, SAP has been doing this for years), Reliable (Hell yes, this SAP!) and Compliant (Of Course, this is the backbone of every SAP system). I was smitten.

Of course like most relationships ByD and I have had our ups and downs.

Firstly everything was lovely, we worked together, we demo’ed together, beautiful!

Next we started to fall out, I didn’t always check the data, ByD tended to work on her terms only. Never an outage, but sometimes a little stroppy.

But then after counselling (or FP2.6 as insiders knew her) things got better again. No more strops, no more quirky processes. More beautiful than ever with the new interface, integration to the outside world and field extensions.

Now, we have a stable, mature relationship. ByDesign is there when I need it to be, still quirky (why can’t I extend the Business Objects just a little bit more, please?) still compliant (iXBRL on time as promised) but reliable (ever heard of an SAP outage? or even downtime counted in hours?) and with the promise of more to come (1302 promises sales kits and HTML5, would be a second honeymoon).

I cannot believe that SAP has got a fully blown fully functional ERP suite into the web-sized tin of ByD with just one interface, brilliant! My future is linked to the continued success of ByDesign.

The Most complete On Demand ERP solution delivered over the internet – Yes it is!

What does complete mean in this instance?

It means that whether you are a services provider, a manufacturer or a distributor ByDesign can be configured to help you run your business. More efficiently probably, more effectively, definitely.

Project Management integrated with Sales, HR and Finance means I can control my people, my money and my customers, all from one application.

Supply Chain, integrated Demand Planning with Production and Sales means effective inventory stock levels and better use of what I have.

Closed loop finances are available, every thing that happens in ByDesign happens in relation to finance. Visibility is king and now finance teams have oversight of sales, purchases, production and even expenses long before the financial documents land, leading to greater control, increased forecast accuracy therefore protected margins.

So this is why I love ByDesign, easy to set up, easy to maintain, easy to consume.

Stay tuned to my next blog to find out why it nearly all ended in disaster for us both!

John

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