Cloud-based services are essential for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), says Darron Walton, co-founder professional services company De Villiers Walton.
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"With 20 full-time consultants, going up to 50 at times, we rely on cloud-based e-mail, timesheet and voice-over-IP (Skype) services," he said.
The company, whose clients include Heineken, Intel and Brakes Brothers, recently went live in less than two days with the SAP Business Bydesign CRM starter pack.
The starter packs enable businesses to get started with Bydesign on-demand cloud services to address their most immediate needs quickly at a fixed cost, with the option of adding other elements when required.
Walton ascribes the fast deployment, which SAP says is usually around six weeks, to the fact that De Villiers Walton has over 30 years collectively of SAP expertise in the management team, which knew exactly how it wanted to run the business.
The choice of Bydesign is simple, he says, because it could be deployed quickly and provided all the company needed in a single package at an affordable rate.
"Unlike competitors like Salesforce.com, Bydesign will enable an end-to-end view of the business and project profitability in real time as we add other elements of the product suite in the next 18 months to replace existing software systems," he said.
The company has been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Replicon and Quickbooks.
"Although individually successful, the systems are disparate and do not provide the ability to have one view of the customer or an accurate, full view of information across the entire business," said Walton.
As a growing business, both in the UK and as it expands internationally, the company also wanted to invest in something that was not only integrated, but also guaranteed to scale.
"I wanted something that will grow with my business and will help me get to 50, 100, 200 or more employees in different locations without the need to change," said Modwenna Rees-Mogg, chief executive of AngelNews.
"I also wanted someone else to take away the hassle and asked for recommendations from my peers," she said.
According to Rainer Zinow, senior vice-president, on-demand strategy for SAP, tests with Intel have shown Bydesign's ability to scale to 5,000 concurrent users on a single blade.
"There is really no upper limit. We were able to do a payment run for three top US retailers using 60 terabytes of real data in seven minutes," he said.
An integrated real-time view of the business is another key attraction of Bydesign.
"We do not have the time to look at and make sense of five different systems to see the bigger picture," said Kaveh Memari, chief executive of Renew.
Bydesign is a new option for the mid-market that brings the best of SAP's enterprise-wide solution with modern ease-of-use, said Justin Brading, managing director of Chelford SAP Soutions & itelligence UK.
Bydesign has been redesigned so that it can be deployed and configured much faster than traditional SAP offerings, he says.
Companies like Renew and Edson are also choosing Bydesign with an eye on future use of mobile devices. Being able to work and have access to information wherever we are will be essential to our business in future, they said.
UK businesses adopting Bydesign are typically still run by the owner, have an entrepreneurial spirit, have 10 to 25 employees, are fast-growing, but have disparate IT systems, according to Ian Anstey, head of SAP Business Bydesign, SAP UK.
"They typically want a consolidated view of the business, but want to invest in the business rather than IT infrastructure," he said.