Sketchy reports coming out of Germany are saying that SAP's Business By Design is likely to be delayed. According to Handelsblatt:
An SAP developer speaking to Handelsblatt claimed (in German) that ByDesign was suffering from performance issues and bugs that would delay general availability until perhaps the end of 2009. That gives Salesforce.com, NetSuite, and other SaaS vendors another eighteen months to keep dominating a market that none of the majors (including SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft) have been able to crack.
This is not a surprise given what Hasso Plattner one of SAP's co-founders said at the recent Churchill Club discussion between himself and Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com. In a transcript I received from Arma Partners, Plattner said (p.27):
We will take another year, or probably 18 months, to become really so – so complete that we can ramp up and, fine. Then you will see us.
This could not have come at a worse time for SAP. Next week sees the start of its annual customer conference season in Orlando. This is bound to be a central talking point.
UPDATE: SAP may have additional troubles connected to its recent acquisition of BusinessObjects. In a Barron's report from last week, Pascal Clement, VP of Enterprise Information Management at SAP/Business Objects is reported to have apologized to customers:
“As we look back at the past several weeks, it is painfully obvious that our internal system issues have brought challenges and unwanted distractions to your ongoing operation of Business Objects software solutions. To be specific, many customers have not been able to receive our technologies in a timely manner. You have our most sincere apology for these issues and also our total dedication toward immediate resolution.”
Whether this signals a possible earnings miss has yet to be revealed although in an earlier report, JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens flagged up issues in both Business Objects and ByDesign.