SAP AG today announced a major update in its portfolio of on-demand solutions: Feature pack 2.6 for the SAP® Business ByDesign™ solution has been generally available since February 1, 2011, offering a slate of new capabilities. The new release serves as an open platform on which a broad ecosystem of partners can further customize the software, and on which SAP will develop new on-demand offerings for various lines of business. Further features include enhancements to usability, support for additional mobile devices and on-demand integration of subsidiary operations into on-premise installations at headquarters. In addition, SAP Business ByDesign is now also being made available in Austria, Canada and Switzerland.
With the new release, SAP takes another significant step in executing its cloud computing strategy and further delivers on its product strategy to extend the availability of business software across on-premise installations, on-demand offerings and a wide variety of popular mobile devices.
Since the launch of feature pack 2.5 in July 2010, SAP Business ByDesign has gained considerable market traction, with approximately 250 customers currently signed up. SAP is now working with approximately 50 solution resellers and around 40 solution partners to serve a customer base that is expected to grow by several hundred around the May 2011 timeframe. The new feature pack ushers in a release twice a year to accelerate product innovation and improve the customer experience.
Ecosystem Extension Improves Customer Value
With feature pack 2.6 for SAP Business ByDesign, SAP partners and customers can extend the solution to individual requirements. Approximately 80 percent of all project-specific adaptations — such as adjusting the user interface, creating new reports, building forms and adjusting business processes — can be completed by customer key users without programming. For the remaining 20 percent, SAP has also introduced the first version of the software development kit (SDK) SAP Business ByDesign studio, which will enable partners to create complete add-on solutions.
This Microsoft Visual Studio-based development environment is fully integrated into the lifecycle management system from SAP and is currently being tested with selected partners. Partners are starting with project-based add-ons, with planned ability over time to add horizontal functionality and build deeply vertical industry solutions.
"We are extremely excited to be one of the first partners to use the SDK, and we believe it will allow us to add more value to SAP Business ByDesign as well as enable us to meet the specific needs of our customers," said Caldwell Velnambi, president, ERP Logic, Inc. "We expect our first partner add-on solution to be available in the marketplace very soon."
Line of Business Platform and Usability Enhancements
The latest version of SAP Business ByDesign delivers new enhancements, including:
- Integration for subsidiaries. Large enterprises running SAP® Business Suite software in their headquarters have shown strong interest in equipping their subsidiaries with SAP Business ByDesign to provide integration between headquarters and subsidiary partners. With feature pack 2.6, SAP offers the first integration scenario for financial consolidation to help companies deal with the growing level of global financial reporting standards such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), multiple currencies particularly at the subsidiary and transaction currency level, as well as tax jurisdictions. Further integration scenarios for sales and distribution are planned for the next version.
- Platform for line-of-business offerings. In addition to enabling partners to create industry-specific solutions, SAP Business ByDesign also will serve as the platform for line-of-business offerings for large enterprises from SAP, including the SAP® Sales OnDemand solution, planned for launch in the first half of 2011.
- Extended mobile support. In addition to supporting the iPhone, feature pack 2.6 for SAP Business ByDesign extends mobile support to the iPad and RIM BlackBerry smartphones. The next version is planned to include further support for the Android and Windows Phone 7 operating systems. In addition, partners have the ability to build native mobile applications that run Web services from SAP Business ByDesign, as well as build mobile applications using SAP Business ByDesign studio.
- In-memory expansion. The analytics functionality within SAP Business ByDesign runs on SAP in-memory computing. Feature pack 2.6 adds sales and financial planning scenarios powered by in-memory technology. These allow customers to develop their business strategies more quickly and precisely based on the ability to process huge data volumes in real time.
Analytical and Business Data on the Move
With the dashboard app for feature pack 2.6, customers can access and consume complete analytical business information, enabling them to react to changes and make informed decisions. The app provides worksheets to arrange and organize reports, as well as annotations, notes, e-mail and voice notes for collaboration with colleagues. A compare function allows access to previous versions of customer data, including the ability to highlight significant changes in data based on a predefined threshold that can easily be changed by a fingertip. The dashboard app will be free to download from the Apple iTunes store and available in demo mode for non-SAP Business ByDesign customers.
"With feature pack 2.6, we are not only delivering additional value to our customers, but are also providing new opportunities for co-innovation to our partners," says Peter Lorenz, executive vice president, On Demand, and corporate officer, SAP AG. "As we have now moved to a cycle of delivering a new feature pack every six months, the next big step in our SAP Business ByDesign roadmap will be the general availability of feature pack 3.0 in August."
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 109,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.