SAP Business ByDesign and BusinessOne on a collision course?

SAP Business ByDesign and BusinessOne on a collision course?

Summary: SAP BusinessOne is little known in the wider world but has garnered 31,000 SME customers. But does the recently announced subscription based hosting offer represent the right thing or a direct competitive threat to Business ByDesign.

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TOPICS: SAP
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Bringing a new product to market is never easy for even the most seasoned of vendors. SAP's Business ByDesign is a classic example that will go down in the text books as one where navel gazing produced the wrong result which was only righted when the company took one too many kicks to the groin. Today, ByDesign is a rapidly maturing solution that is hitting its delivery marks and racking up customers at a fair clip. The company reports some 500 customers so far with a target of 1,000 by year's end. If they achieve that then they will have done well.

Not to be eclipsed, SAP BusinessOne is not so shabby either. With a current customer count north of 31,000, some 300 solution partners and 500 solutions plus 22,000 downloads of an app from the iTunes store it represents a relative success story for SAP. But...

Yesterday, a group of SAP Mentors were treated to a quick skim over the B1 surface, with the effort concentrated on two things: market presence and an outline of what's coming in 2012. The market presence data is interesting. A number of big name brands like Land Rover use B1 in subsidiaries. Hang on - where have I heard that before? Oh yes - that is an integral part of SAP's BYD story with high expectations coming from the big SIs both on the domestic and Indian fronts.

Then there was the B1 starter pack story that allows potential customers to get going for under $10,000. SAP counts having sold to 75 net new customers on the starter pack version in two months. But again - there is a similar starter pack story for BYD though at least one reseller reckons it is closer to $15,000 to get going.

Then there was talk about professional services organisations as being SAP's best market for B1 based upon sales made so far. Hmmm...BYD version 3.5, due for release in 2012 is planned to major on PSA functionality.

And then if that wasn't enough, there is talk of seamlessly shoehorning HANA, the BIG, expensive high speed data analytics appliance into B1...and yes, there is a similar story around BYD.

But the real nut comes in the fact SAP is currently rolling out a program that will allow resellers to host B1 and resell access to the system on a subscription basis. The reseller holds the license and packages up a service program. Resellers have to shell €5,000 for the pleasure plus invest in infrastructure but they hold the ownership of the relationship with the customer and the all important license. Kolanot is already out there with this solution branded as BusinessNow.

During the Q&A, I along with colleague Jon Reed peppered the SAP team with questions about how this is going to work when to us it seems like BYD and B1 are on a collision course. The frightening response was - and I paraphrase - 'We don't know about BYD.'

The problems are more than theoretical. SAP likes to position BYD and B1 as alternatives that cater for different deployment preferences. That doesn't wash. B1 is far richer than BYD at this point in development as you'd expect from a relatively mature solution. Yet, as the Kolanot example shows, it is being offered at a lower price point than BYD: $125 plays $149 per user per month. That will not be lost on buyers although to be fair it is unclear how precise the comparisons work out once you take into account any technical requirements for subscribed B1.

More important, as the functional gap between BYD and B1 narrows, it will be harder for SAP to sustain a line that puts the two solutions side by side without drawing the inevitable head scratching from buyers. Similarly, I have problems with the hosted subscription model run by resellers because it is inherently non scalable. Resellers may understand code but running a data center is best left to experts.

But the most troubling problem is that SAP doesn't see the problems. Or if it does then they are locked into the minds of one level of management and not communicated at the SVP/VP level. If it was otherwise then we would have got answers beyond the sometimes uncomfortable silences.

Past analysis has been very much focused on whether ByDesign represents a direct long term threat to the Business Suite, largely because the senior level messaging behind it is that the BYD architecture IS the future for SAP. To me that has always been a long time into the future - a good five or more years out.

In a year's time, I reckon those internally competitive problems are going to be focused directly on BYD and B1. This is one train wreck SAP cannot easily deflect without some very sharp thinking that is not currently in evidence.

Expect an update when we get to SAP TechEd in mid-September.

Topic: SAP

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • RE: SAP Business ByDesign and BusinessOne on a collision course?

    Interesting article Dennis, while there will be some overlap, as a reseller of both products, we believe there is a market for each product largely driven by verticals they most readily serve.

    We focus on the service and supply companies of the oil and gas, mining, utilities and heavy construction industries.

    With our add-on FieldVu and SAP Business One, we provide a single solution to field services, facility/pipeline construction, rental companies and product assemblers with a strong service and repair component to their business.

    While the ByDesign product with Project Management offers a great solution in our market space to professional serivce companies like engineering firms, land agencies, and seismic companies. In the industries we serve, advanced manufacturers can use the capabilities "out of the can" in ByDesign to manage a pure manufacturing business.

    We believe that in looking under the hood of both products, you would see there are distinctive industry verticals and segments within those for each offering.

    Again great article - thanks for opening the discussion.

    Jory Lamb
    VistaVu Solutions
    VistaVu
  • RE: SAP Business ByDesign and BusinessOne on a collision course?

    Hi Dennis,<br>I hear your comment regarding the expertise needed to run a data centre and I absolutely agree that it is a specialist skill.<br>One of the key things that we are encouraging resellers to do is to partner with an SAP Certified Hosting organisation that has this skill and capability already and from the discussions I have had, that is absolutely the plan for the those folks that are looking to offer SAP Business One under our Subscription Based Hosting option.<br><br>Also, to address one of your other questions, SAP Business One has always been primarily offered as an On Premise solution and ByDesign as an OnDemand offering but one of the things that we have always tried to do is to deliver choice in deployment models with our existing solutions <br>The Subscription Based Hosting (SBH) model is really about addressing that request from partners and customers to make it easier for them to take their solution of choice and then take advantage of the technologies and pricing models available to match their preferred deployment method and payment model.<br>So the process is still the same as I have seen it (based on 25years of selling ERP to small and midsize businesses) and that is choose based on functional fit and capability first, then consider pricing and then consider the deployment. With SAP Business One via Subscription based hosting, we are responding to that customer approach.<br>To help people take a closer look at SAP Business One, I have put together a complete set of demonstrations of SAP Business One that can be accessed from my personal website at <a href="http://www.richardduffy.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://www.richardduffy.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://www.richardduffy.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://www.richardduffy.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.richardduffy.com</a></a></a></a> - heres a short link to jump to the demo's as well - <a href="http://ow.ly/62hWV" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://ow.ly/62hWV" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://ow.ly/62hWV" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://ow.ly/62hWV" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://ow.ly/62hWV</a></a></a></a> <br><br>Cheers and thanks for the interest in SAP Business One.<br><br>Richard Duffy<br>SAP Business One Product Evangelist<br>richard.duffy@sap.com
    richardaduffy
    • RE: SAP Business ByDesign and BusinessOne on a collision course?

      @richardaduffy - thanks Richard. I see all that but I think you're missing the two key points.

      1. The problem doesn't exist as a big issue today but will almost certainly become a point of confusion in 12-18 months.

      2. Silos. No-one on the call had an adequate response to the BYD comparisons. Anything on this should be shared throughout the organisation so that people appreciate the nuanced arguments. My colleagues and I find this repeated time and again inside SAP, sometimes all the way from the top. It's a reflection of SAP's sometimes insular view of the world. That is only going to get more complex as the market forces LOB apps into this whole discussion.
      dahowlett
  • RE: SAP Business ByDesign and BusinessOne on a collision course?

    @dahowlett - Dennis, We have some work to do on the internal discussion for sure and I will reach out to the internal folks on that and make sure your points get across.

    By the way, any time you (or your readers) need anything SAP Business One related, feel free to reach out to me - I am on Twitter (@richardaduffy), the web at www.richardduffy.com and on Facebook as well at www.facebook.com/sapbusinessone .
    If I don't have the answer I'll try to get it for you.

    Cheers

    Richard Duffy
    SAP Business One Product Evangelist
    richard.duffy@sap.com
    richardaduffy
  • RE: SAP Business ByDesign and BusinessOne on a collision course?

    Another way to think about it is customer choice. We had a client back in the early day of Viagra sales online who kept on putting up new websites. Their philosophy was if I can have 3 of the top 5 sites I have a 60% chance of capturing the customer instead of a 20% chance.

    Typically customers narrow ERP selections down to 2 or 3 solutions. Today, ByD and B1 are very different in look and feel as well as breadth and depth of functionality. Tomorrow there may be more overlap, but will maintain a different look and feel because of the technology. If SAP can have 2 of the 3 finalists, they will win more deals.

    B1 has also been hosted by partners like I-BN in the US since v2007A came out. Combining hosting and leasing or "indefinite financing" customers have had www.Business1online.com for over 3 years. Subscription based hosting is simply a new payment method for the licenses.
    GJFIBN
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