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SAP says cloud-based SaaS is ready for UK primetime

Business ByDesign, SAP's cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, is ready for the primetime, the enterprise software company says.

"Business ByDesign has been very successful among mid-sized businesses," Tim Noble, managing director at SAP for UK & Ireland, told attendees of the SAP World Tour in Twickenham.

Business ByDesign can also be used in subsidiaries of large companies that do not want to implement large on-premise projects, he said.

SAP is discussions with two subsidiaries in the UK which will become part of the main corporate system in the long term, but need something to run the business in the next two to three years, Ian Anstey, head of Business ByDesign SAP UK, told Computer Weekly.

Quick and easy implementation

For subsidiaries that are already running on SAP ByDesign, the switchover to the corporate business suite will be easy, he said.

Noble said SAP research shows that, by 2013, 80% of software will be in the cloud. He added that Amazon's Easter outage had had no effect on UK adoption of ByDesign.

The announcement at Saphhire Now in Orlando that SAP has added Amazon Web Services to its list of partners comes just weeks after Sanjay Poonen, president of SAP's global solutions business, was quoted as saying the Amazon outage will make it harder to sell cloud computing.

The first SAP-Amazon cloud products will run only on Linux and will include SAP's CRM, supply chain and procurement, manufacturing, finance and IT help desk suites.

After a faltering start, the UK ByDesign market has seen rapid expansion since SAP released starter packs for ByDesign and the long-awaited feature pack 2.5 in July 2010. The starter packages enable businesses to get started with ByDesign to address their most immediate needs such as CRM quickly at a fixed cost.

New customer Panorama Antennas is a good example of an SME that took just 24 weeks to get the whole business running on ByDesign, said Anstey.

"They chose ByDesign because they wanted something that could run the whole business, would not take long to implement, did not need a large IT infrastructure, did not require them to make technical decisions, and had predictable costs going forward," he said.

Acceptance of the cloud

According to Anstey, SAP UK has signed up as many ByDesign customers in the first quarter of 2011 as it did in the whole of the previous year.

"SAP has announced at Sapphire that we have 500 ByDesign customers globally, and I am confident that we will reach our target of 1,000 customers by the end of the year," he said.

Anstey ascribes the uptick in ByDesign customers to a much more concentrated marketing campaign and acceptance by prospective customers that SAP's cloud offering is ready for primetime.

"The UK is a mature market and companies such as Panorama would not risk putting their entire operation in the cloud unless they were convinced it could do the job," he said.

UK businesses want to invest in solutions that they know they can add functionality to, that they know is a trusted brand that will be around for years to come, and that can scale with the business as it grows up to thousands of users.


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