The full lowdown on the business software giant's leap into software as a service
I didn't know SAP made technology for fashion designers...
Alas, Business ByDesign isn't in fact for fashion designers - it's a software-as-a-service ERP (enterprise resource planning) package. Aimed at mid-sized businesses, Business ByDesign has been in development for several years.
What does Business ByDesign actually do?
It's an ERP system encompassing applications for compliance, CRM, executive management support, finance, HR, project management, supplier relationship management and supply chain.
There are also different versions tailored to particular industries including automotive, consumer product, high tech, industrial machinery and components, mill products, professional services and wholesale distribution.
So what's the big deal about it?
Well, SAP has traditionally made its money from on-premise software and Business ByDesign is its first attempt to make a significant play in software as a service.
So why does SAP need to go into software as a service?
Delivering software over the internet is becoming big business - global software-as-a-service revenue for enterprise apps is predicted to hit $8.5bn this year, up 14.1 per cent from 2009, according to analysts Gartner.
Offering enterprises potentially lower costs, greater flexibility and faster implementation times, software as a service is already becoming an increasingly important way for businesses to access their technology.
In order to keep up with its rivals, SAP needs to provide customers with software delivered over the net in addition to the traditional on-premise approach.
Just how important is it for the company's future?
The company has had a tough time recently with former CEO Leo Apotheker resigning in February this year and less-than-encouraging results for the 2009 financial year which saw revenues drop by eight per cent year-on-year.
Since they took the helm following Apotheker's departure, co-CEOs Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott have...